3 electric train lines press ahead

Three electric train projects are pressing ahead though two are running behind schedule, caretaker Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt says.

The minister inspected the electric railway construction sites last week and found the Blue Line from Hua Lamphong to Bang Khae, and from Bang Sue to Tha Phra is 53% completed, 0.15% behind schedule.

The Green Line from Bearing to Samut Prakan is 22.6% completed, about 2% ahead of schedule. The Purple Line from Bang Sue to Bang Yai is 85% completed and 1.5% behind schedule. The line is the first of three links set to start operation in 2017.

Mr Chadchart said the Purple Line will start operation before the other lines and its construction was going ahead. The system will be tested around September 2016 with service set for launch in early 2017.

"There is no problem with the construction. I'd like to see the Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) speed up the pace so the projects can be completed ahead of schedule," he said.

He was concerned about the one-kilometre stretch between Bang Sue station and Tao Poon station.

The MRTA must accelerate the work on that part of the project so it can open around the same time as the Purple Line to provide a convenient linkage for commuters, Mr Chadchart said.

He added the MRTA has yet to settle land conflicts with City Hall over the planned construction site of the Blue Line at Fai Shai intersection. Talks were needed to avert delays.

The minister also pointed out the caretaker government might have to seek approval from the Election Commission to pay for the construction of the electric railways.

Mr Chadchart said the bidding contest for the Green Line worth 26.56 billion baht, from Mor Chit via Saphan Mai to Khu Khot, will take place on April 11.

Meanwhile, the 21.8-kilometre-long Orange Line project from the Thailand Cultural Centre to Min Buri and the 54.5-km Pink Line monorail project from Khae Rai to Min Buri are stalled pending approval from the new government.

The caretaker minister said he wanted the State Railway of Thailand School, which trains railway personnel, to incorporate a study on electric train technology in its syllabus.

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