'Ultraman' to deploy on select train routes this month
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) will deploy the "Ultraman", its newest diesel-electric train, on select routes this month, according to its governor Niruj Maneepun.
The new trains became known locally as the Ultraman because of its distinctive red-grey locomotive, which rail watchers said resembles the famous manga character.
The trains -- manufactured by CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Company -- were imported by SFR Consortium, who won a contract worth 6.52 billion baht to procure 50 new trains back in August 2020.
Twenty sets arrived in February, another 15 are due to arrive at the end of October, and the rest will arrive in February next year.
The trains have a top speed of 120 kilometres per hour, much higher than the SRT's older rolling stock.
"The higher operating speeds, coupled with the ongoing dual-track upgrades nationwide, will help improve our overall service capacity," he said.
The engines can be run on biodiesel or gasohol E20 -- which is 20% ethanol and 80% unleaded gasoline 95 which emit less hazardous fumes, and the locomotives produce 24% less carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon particles, and 25% less PM2.5 pollutants, according to the SRT.
"In addition, the trains are equipped with an electronic air brake system manufactured in Germany. CCTV cameras are also installed for safety," Mr Niruj said, adding the SRT has finished doing test runs.
"The Ultraman is a little bit taller than our older trains, so we need to run tests to ensure the train can safely pass narrow passages and tunnels," he said.
According to the SRT, the trains will be deployed between Bangkok-Nong Khai, Bangkok-Trang and Bangkok-Chiang Mai.
"Our audit committee will run final checks of the trains before they are deployed. In addition to promoting tourism, we hope to use the Ultraman trains to meet our logistics demand," he said.