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Bangkok rail hub nears completion

More than 90% of work on Bang Sue Central Station is now complete. Once finished, it will be the largest and most modern railway station in Asean.

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Thailand's rail transport sector is finally coming together.

In Bangkok, 10 mass transit projects are under construction. Across the nation, major railway projects are also underway, including the 308-kilometre line from Nakhon Ratchasima to Ubon Ratchathani. Many areas -- from Chiang Mai in the North to Phuket in the South -- are also pushing plans to build their own rail systems.

Bang Sue Central Station will replace the century-old Hua Lamphong Station as Bangkok's main rail hub. The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) says it will open in January 2021.

"Once completed, Bang Sue Central Station will be the largest railway station in Asean. All diesel train services which terminate at Hua Lamphong will eventually be moved here, and the old train station will be converted into a museum," SRT deputy director Worawut Mala told the Bangkok Post.

Mr Worawut said the station will serve diesel trains, electric commuter trains, as well as high-speed regional trains and the airport link between Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports.

The 15-billion-baht station is being built on 2,325 rai of land owned by the SRT. 

The station's main structure consists of a three-storey building, not including the underground car park and the mezzanine level. Once completed, the building will be over 596 metres long and 244 metres wide. The station will have 26 platforms, and enough parking space for 1,624 cars -- which is important to commuters as the station will be connected to the MRT's Blue Line.

Bang Sue Central Station will be a part of the SRT's Red Line suburban railways system. It will serve as the terminus of the 26km "Dark Red" service between Bang Sue and Rangsit, from which passengers can switch to the 15km "Light Red" service that runs to Taling Chan.

Main work on the Red Line -- which began in January 2009 -- has been completed at a cost of 9.08 billion baht. The SRT is waiting for the signalling system to be installed and the trains to arrive, Mr Worawut said.

Once operational, the Dark Red service on the Red Line will provide a rail link between the northern and southern parts of Bangkok, while the Light Red service will link the city's eastern outskirts with the west.

"When the lines open in 2021, we expect to see around 208,000 commuters and travellers to pass through Bang Sue Central Station," Mr Worawut said.

"Meanwhile, the Light Red and Dark Red services are expected to serve 86,000 and 130,000 passengers daily over the next 12 years."

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