Thailand’s cabinet yesterday approved a $2.6bn scheme to build an extension to Bangkok’s Sky Train elevated rail line. The scheme is one of $50bn worth of infrastructure projects that the military government has scheduled to begin before 2018.
The Orange Line will run 40km east to west across the northern edge of the Thai capital between Taling Chan and Min Buri. Nine kilometres and seven stations will be above ground, 31km with 23 stations will be below ground.
It is scheduled for completion by the end of 2022, and the government has specified that it must use at least 30% domestic materials in its construction.
Bidding for work on the scheme will take place by May 2016, according to Akom Termpittayapisit, the Transportation Minister.
The Sky Train now has 34 stations arranged in two lines. Work is continuing on two other extensions, the Sukhumvit Line South and the Sukhumvit Line North, and another, the Silom Line West, is planned.
The Sky Train was opened in 1999 and was built using technology developed by Canadian contractor SNC-Lavalin for the Vancouver elevated railway.
Owing to a lack of urban planning during its rapid expansion, Bangkok has a notoriously dysfunctional road network. As well as the light rail systems, an entire network of overhead roads was installed over the street grid in the 1990s.
Also yesterday the state rail authority opened electronic bidding for a $650m project to build a dual-track railway in north-eastern Thailand. The military government aims to get 20 rail, road, port and air transport projects under way in the next three years to stimulate the Thai economy.
Photograph: The BST Rot Fai Faa in action (Wikimedia Commons)