The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has proposed that the cabinet consider approving an adjustment in the budget ceiling for the three extension lines of its Red Line electric commuter train service in response to the rising cost of construction work.
SRT governor Nirut Maneephan on Monday revealed that due to rising fuel prices, the present exchange rate and inflation, costs have increased beyond foreseeable limits.
"Therefore, the construction plan and budget ceiling of the Red Line's three extension projects will need to be adjusted, before the Transport Ministry submits the proposal to the cabinet for approval," Mr Nirut said.
The extensions are the 14.8-km Taling Chan-Salaya line, the 5.7-km Taling Chan-Siriraj line and the 8.84-km Rangsit-Thammasat University line.
In February 2019, the cabinet originally set the budget ceiling for the Taling Chan-Salaya line at 10.2 billion baht.
However, Bang Kruai Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand Station and Saphan Rama VI Station, have been added, which prompted the SRT to ask the cabinet to increase the budget to 10.6 billion baht.
In March the same year, the cabinet set the budget ceiling for the second Taling Chan-Siriraj line at 1.95 billion baht, but because of changes to the carriage procurement, ticketing system and maintenance it was revised upwards to 4.69 billion baht.
Finally, the last line was given a budget by the cabinet last year of 6.57 billion baht. But that was reduced to 6.46 billion baht following a revision of its layout and a reduced expropriation outlay.
The SRT expected to launch the bidding for the three extensions now valued at 21.8 billion baht by the end of the year, Mr Nirut said.
The SRT is planning to propose that the Transport Ministry should seek private contractors to oversee the operation of the train service as well as to carry out necessary maintenance of the complete set of six extensions to the Red Line.
If approved by the cabinet, the bidding is expected to be launched sometime during or before 2024 and it has been estimated that the project could generate 580 billion baht during the concession period.