Hearing plans firm for Hua Lamphong

Hearing plans firm for Hua Lamphong

Public invited to share input

All quiet on the platform: People at Hua Lamphong Station, the main railway station in Bangkok. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)
All quiet on the platform: People at Hua Lamphong Station, the main railway station in Bangkok. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

A public hearing will be held on Dec 14 to gain input on how Hua Lamphong station should be developed, as the kingdom shifts its railway hub to Bang Sue Grand Station.

Government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said the hearing will be organised via online platforms to hear feeback from the general public and stakeholders.

The Transport Ministry's plan to decommission the 105-year-old station this month has met with criticism from some commuters and academics.

The State Railway of Thailand's (SRT) labour union has started an online campaign, petitioning the Transport Ministry to keep the station open.

Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, founder of the new Thai Sang Thai Party, is among the critics opposing the plan.

Critics claim that relocating the railway hub will incur unnecessary expenses for people who need to commute from Hua Lamphong to the new station to catch interprovincial trains.

However, Mr Thanakorn said some trains will still operate out of Hua Lamphong station after the new station is officially launched.

About 22 of 100 trains will be retained at Hua Lamphong but their schedules are still being planned to avoid rush hours, he said.

Many trains passing through rail crossings in Bangkok are blamed for causing traffic jams at peak hours, Mr Thanakorn said, adding the rail crossing issue will be raised during the hearing.

Officials are studying whether to extend the Red Line electric train route to connect with Hua Lamphong for easier commutes.

SRT Assets, SRT's investment arm, will survey parts of the Hua Lamphong area and look at how they might be developed to make money for the cash-strapped state-owned enterprise.

A detailed study will be carried out on the project, Mr Thanakorn said.

He said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is keeping an open mind with plans mulled to decide the fate of Hua Lamphong.

A plan is sought that would have the least negative impact of people, Mr Thanakorn said.

SRT governor Nirut Maneephan allayed concerns by conservationists that Hua Lamphong may be torn down.

He said it won't be demolished as it is a historic landmark associated with the reign of King Rama V.

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