Cross-border trains - March 4, 2009
Wisarut reports: I just got the information about train numbers for cross border service between Nong Khai-Tha Nalaeng section along with the schedule.
1. Express 69 Depart Nong Khai at 10:00 (10AM) and Arrive Tha Nalaeng at 10:15 (10:15 AM)
2. Special Train 913 Depart Nong Khai 16:20 (4:20 PM) and Arrive Tha Naleng 16:35 (4:35 PM)
3. Special Train 914 Depart Tha Nalaeng 10:45 (10:45 AM) and Arrive at Nong Khai at 11:00 (11 AM)
3. Express 70 Depart Tha Naleng 17:06 (5:06 PM) and Arriove Nong Khai 17:20 (5:20 PM)
The ticket for cross border service 913/914 will be as follows:
1. Third Class - 20 baht
2. Second Class Aircon - 80 baht (50 baht for those who take Express 69/70)
Note: The extra 30 Baht is for Lao Railway Authority
The Thai government has made a clear policy to grant 900 million baht aids with 30% as grant and 70% as loan with 1.5% annual interest rate to construct the Tha Nalaeng-Viengchan railway with total distance of 9 km to allow both cargo service between Laem Chabang Port and Lao-China Industrial estate near Bueng That Luang (Viengchan Station) along with passenger services - which will shorten the distance from 28 km to 13-14 km.
LPDR politburo and People Armed Forces of LPDR are going to force all the existing duty free shops to move to Tha Nalaeng station where they have already purchase the land for leasing. Only a casino are allowed to be at Friendship Bridge (on the Lao side).
SRT must pull its weight as an engine of growth - The Nation, November 24, 2008
...The rail network in this country covers some 4,043km, less than in neighbouring Burma, which has around 5,500km. Worse, only 280km of the Thai rail is the double-track system, compared with 200km in Malaysia and 600km in Burma.
Thus it is not difficult to imagine why delays are very common for passengers due to that traffic bottleneck. To arrive at a railway station only to find that the train taking them to their destination will come two hours late, is still possible.
The single track limits the driver to run the train at a maximum speed of 120km per hour. Thus it is understandable for railway officials to envy those working at the Highways Department because roads always come first when policy-makers talk about transport infrastructure...
(Photo: Dick van der Spek)
March, 1972 at Non Pladuk
A few random railroad photos from the past - October 16, 2008
(Photo: Dick van der Spek)
March, 1972 at Non Pladuk
(Photo: Dick van der Spek)
Wan Po on July 17, 1979
(Photo: Dick van der Spek)
Engine 513 - Date and location unknown
SRT should mimic Indian Railways - Bangkok Post, May 1, 2008
...From a loss-making operation that was near bankruptcy due to high debt, Indian Railways turned to make a profit of 70 billion baht over the past two years, Dr Surapong said. At the same time, passenger tariffs fell by 18%.
The SRT has long been one of the country's worst-performing state enterprises, with accumulated losses of more than 40 billion baht and losses in 2007 alone of 6.27 billion baht.
Of Thailand's nearly five dozen state enterprises, four accounted for 95% of all losses: the SRT, the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, the SME Bank and the National Housing Authority...
Thai Cabinet OKs 2 SRT Rail Projects Worth THB18.8 Billion - Nasdaq, May 22, 2007
Go-ahead given for B13bn city train line - Bangkok Post, May 23, 2007
...The Bang Sue-Taling Chan railway is part of Bangkok's new Red Line, which also includes a much more expensive section, estimated at 52 billion baht, which will stretch for 26km all the way from Bang Sue to Rangsit.
...In addition, the Transport Ministry is preparing details of the Purple Line from Bang Sue to Bang Yai...
Southeast Asian nations hope a proposed major railway project linking Singapore to southern China will be ready by 2015 to facilitate the flow of goods and people across the region, officials said Saturday...
ASEAN hopes to revitalize rail project - AP, August 27, 2006
Railways on track for B1.33-trillion shunt - Bangkok Post, August 18, 2006
New investments totalling 1.33 trillion baht will be made in rail networks over the next five years to help overhaul logistics and transport networks...
The restructuring plan calls for the procurement of 200 new train engines, new installations of double-track rail and extensions of rail networks to commercial areas to facilitate the use of railways for commercial shipping and transport...
French President Jacques Chirac told the press during a press conference at Oriental Hotel after the meeting with PM Thaksin on February 18 that the French government would cooperate with Thailand to push the railway from Nongkhai to Vientiane.
The French government would agree to grant cheap loans (lower interest rates) to the Lao government so they can construct a new railway from Tha Nalaeng to Vientiane (the capital city).
The section from Tha Nalaeng to Vientiane is about 10 km while the section from the Thai border pole to Tha Nalaeng is 3.5 km.
Note: The Thai government would have to donate either old GEK locos or ALSTHOM loco class 41xx to the Lao Railway Authority so they can launch railway services without delay. That would be possible after getting the new locos from China.
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) should extend railways into South China in a bid to increase its revenue and promote Thailand as a regional transport hub, the Thai News Agency (TNA) reported Tuesday, quoting Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI)...
SRT debt clearing by setting up three subsidiaries - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily, November 15, 2005
The SRT Board is coming up with debt clearing plan by setting up three subsidiaries.
1) SRT Asset Management Co. Ltd. to maximize the asset management benefit
2) SRT Maintenance Management to handle both track maintenance and loco and rolling stock maintenance
3) SRT Service Management to handle the SRT services at stations and inside the trains
The SRT Asset Management would transfer the areas at Bangsue Railway Yard, Chong Nonsee [Maenam station] and Makkasan to Treasury Department to clear 40 billion baht debt.
SRT Maintenance management would integrate those loco drivers who are under the jurisdiction of
the SRT Mechanic Department and ticket sellers who are under the jurisdiction of the SRT Commercial Department. Furthermore, private participation would be allowed so they can invest in the railway services with the concession feed paid to SRT Service Management.
SRT Service Management would function to allow AOT to run the services inside the stations and turn the stations into shopping malls for the commercial viable sections.
Deputy Minister of Finance Chaiyot Sasomsab said they would consider the proposal of the SRT Board who are asking to handle the three major SRT land holdings at Makkasan, Bangsue and Mae Nam instead of selling the land out to the Treasury Department. However the Ministry has to investigate if the SRT Board is able to handle commercial management and development of SRT land at three significant places. The SRT Board would give the answer to the Ministry of Finance in the next two weeks.
Explanation of Minister Pheng's double tracking projects - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Than Setthakij, November 10-12, 2005
Transport Minister Pheng called for a public-private joint venture on the following projects during a talk with students at Rajabah University of Udorn Thani on November 8, 2005:
1) Khon Kaen - Kalasin - Mukdaharn - Nakhon Phanom [new line]
2) Khon kaen - Bua Yai double tracking
3) Nong Khai - Khon Kaen double tracking
4) Kaeng Khoi - Lum Narai - Bua Yai double tracking
5) Ban Phachi - Wiharn Daeng [new bypass route]
6) Chachongsao - Klong 19 - Wiharn Daeng double tracking
7) Chachongsao - Sri Racha - Laem Chabang double tracking
8) Nakhon Pathom - Nong Pladuk - Suphanburi double tracking
9) Suphanburi - Ang Thong - Ban Phachi line [new line]
10) Khorat (Thanon Jira) - Ubon double tracking
11) Map Krabao - Nakhonratchasima - Khorat (Thanon Jira) double tracking
12) Railway Bridge across Mekhong heading to Danang Port in Vietnam
This would include the mixed gauge (1.000 & 1.435 meter) in the same way as the track form Hanoi to the Dong Dang checkpoint to China.
Minister Pheng has come up with the following plan for the mass transit system:
1) Mixed gauge (meter gauge/standard gauge) for the following sections
1.1) Rangsit - Ayutthaya - Ban Phachi
1.2) Lad Krabang - Chachongsao - Chonburi
1.3) Talingchan - Nakhon Pathom
2) Double tracking for the following routes
2.1) Nakhon Pathom - Nong Pladuk - Suphanburi
2.2) Chachongsao - Klong 19 - Wiharn Daeng
3) New line for Suphanburi - Ban Phachi - Wiharn Daeng as a new cargo route
Comments about the plan are in this thread on the forum.
Minister Pheng insisting that Khonkaen - Kalasin - Mukdaharn is better than Bua Yai Roy Ed - Mukdaharn - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Bangkok Biznews, November 3, 2005
During the "Future Thai Economic and Commerce in Indochina region" seminar set up by the Nation Multimedia Group at Rajabhat Udorn Thani University on November 2, 2005, Transport Minister Pheng stated that the government prefers the Khonkaen - Kalasin - Mukdaharn route over Bua Yai - Roy Ed - Mukdaharn proposed by SRT since the Bua Yai route is not economically worthy.
Minister Pheng even lambastes governments from 1969 to 1994 that originally proposed the Bua Yai route along with the who prefer truck routes over the railway route.
Minister Pheng also insisted that this Khonkaen - Mukdaharn line would start construction to support the East-West Economic Corridor after the East -West Corridor highway projects are done in 2006.
The new container yard at Namphong along with the Khon Kaen ICD would boost usage of the Khonkaen - Kalasin - Mukdaharn line.
Khon kaen - Kalasin - Mukdaharn line will go though the following districts:
1) Muang District of Khon Kaen
2) Chiang yuen district of Mahasarakham
3) Yang Talad district of Kalasin (major district of Kalasin)
4) Phon Thong district of Kalasin
5) Nikhom Kham Soy district of Mukdaharn
6) Muang district of Mukdaharn
This Khonkaen to Mukdaharn line would be extended to Nakhon Pathom and go across Mekhong at Tha Khaek since the bridge across Mekhong at Mukdaharn has not been designed for railway-trucks in the same way as the Friendship Bridge at Nong Khai.
SRT needs to speed up major rehab of the track along with double tracking and private participation in the construction of stations and loco purchasing while SRT would work on the schedule allocation for cargo lines.
Note: Wisarut notes that the routing of lines such as this mentioned above is almost always associated with vested interests who want traffic routes to go buy their land holdings.
Minister Pheng forcing SRT to extract more revenue from the private sector - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Bangkok Business News and Manager Daily, November 3, 2005
Minister Pheng has asked SRT to do the following things:
1) Speed up the Airport Link after STECON has worked three months behind schedule. STECON is supposed to install 7782 supporting pillars of 10,094 by now. However, the actual number of support pillars erected by STECON so far is 1510 pillars (15% progress).
The construction of foundations is only 0.9% in progress. STECON is supposed to erect 1363 pillars of 2388 pillars by now. The actual number of erected pillars is 21 pillars.
The SRT Board has admitted that the delay on the land transfer and that contractors are not ready to install heavy machines along with construction materials and this has caused a by 2-3 delay.
However, Minister Pheng is asking contractors to explain the delays along with the construction plans to MOTC while asking SRT to find a private sector entity to run the Airport Link before the construction is done since the private sector would have to take part in laying tracks and signal and system installations.
2) Extract more revenue from the private sectors who lease SRT land from extra rent as well as profit sharing to boost revenue for SRT. This is the way to deal with 100 billion baht debts of SRT which consists of accumulated debts of 42 billion baht and 50 billion baht for pensions which are supposed to be solved in five years.
The debt restructuring for SRT will consist of SRT Asset Management Co. Ltd. to take of SRT land as well as a mass transit system in Bangkok and vicinity after the creation of MTA.
Furthermore, the revenue sharing extracted from those who rent SRT land is needed to cover the low rent rates.
The 47.22 rai of land leased by Central Pattana at Phaholyothin will be expire in December 2008. Therefore, SRT and financial consultants have to make asset assessments along with the trend of leasing rate to calculate the appropriate leasing rate. After that, SRT would negotiate with Central Pattana about the new rate of leasing along with revenue sharing to cover the low rate rent. If Central Pattana refuses to negotiate with SRT, SRT would call new companies willing to accept the new rates along with revenue sharing.
More rumors on SRT issues - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Transport Journal, October 10-16, 2005
After the Cabinet shuffle from Suriya to Phongsak (Pheng), more rumours on SRT emerge:
Sacking SRT Governor Jittisen since he could not get along with both Minister Pheng and Premier Thaksin.
This is due to the fact that Minister Pheng has sent men from the Highway Department to run OTP as well as the SRT Board despite the fact that those from the Highway Department know nothing about the railway and subway at all. They are cronies of Minister Pheng.
This kind of political patronage by promoting unqualified persons to run SRT and OTP frustrates both Transport Journal correspondents as well as the SRT Board.
For the case of Mr Suthon, he only has law knowledge. Mr. Suthone only knows about procurements without any knowledge of engineers or even administration.
Mr Suthone just wants to become a new governor by accusing Governor Jittisen as "an unqualified and inefficient SRT Governor" despite the fact that Governor Jittisen knows how to drive locomotives as well as having other railway engineering knowledge. This kind of accusation would doom SRT if Minister Pheng has agreed with Mr Suthone.
The insider has admitted to TJ correspondents that it is impossible to finish Suvanabhum Airport Link by the end of 2008. This delay is due to the Hopewell debacle as well as modifying the structure.
Even double-tracking from Chachongsao to Sri Racha is delayed due to the delay on the payment which compels SRT to return part of its budget to the Budget Bureau.
The reasons for Minister Pheng's meddling with the mass transit system can be shown as follows:
1) Discrediting Minister Suriya by the order from Premier Thaksin's group to ruin the Wang Bua Ban faction. This is an internal struggle within TRT.
2) Discrediting Mr Khamrobluk before kicking Mr Khamrobluk out so Minister Pheng can nominate Mr. Maitree Srinanawat (another crony of Minister Pheng) to run OTP.
3) The government may run out of budget for a mass transit system so they just meddle and delay the projects. They do not want to tell the truth to the public despite of the fact that the meddling and delay on the projects have already ruined TRT.
4) It is the way for the new minister to show that "He has his own brain" so he does not have to follow Suriya's plan. The same mentality as those who construct stone castles--no one wants to continue his predecessor's projects.
The suggestion to move the transport hub from Bangsue to Chiang Rak would only ignite more chaos because it goes against the principal of mass transit systems which require a transportation center within the city.
Konkaen - Kalasin - Mukdaharn railway approved - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager and Bangkok Biznews, October 3, 2005
Premier Thaksin and the cabinet have approved the 250 km railway project from Khon Kaen - Chaing Yuen [Chaing Yuen district Mahasarakham] - Yang Talad - [Yang Talad District of Kalasin] - Phon Thong [Muang district of Kalasin] - Mukdaharn with a price tag of 12 billion baht. The study will be done in six months even though the actual studies would take two years to be done. It would take three years to construct the route and complete it.
However, the Kalasin Chamber of Commerce said they want a double track route not just a single track. They claim that they are cheaper than the route from Bua Yai to Mukdaharn via Roy Ed [368 km - 16.1 billion baht].
After finishing this line, they will ask for a route from Phisanuloke to Khonkaen via Phechabun and complete the project for the route from Phisanuloke to Maesod via Sukhothai and Tak. This would ensure Khonkaen supremacy over Udornthani and Nakhon Ratchasima.
Scrambling for Isan railway to Nakhon Phanom - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily, September 22, 2005
Kalasin Chamber of Commerce has come up with the new route proposal from Khon Kaen to Nakhon Phanom via Kalasin:
1) Shorter route (250 km vs. 396 km of Bua Yai - Roi Et - Mukdaharn - Nakhon Phanom)
The same budget of Bua Yai - Roy Ed - Nakhon Phanom can even double track Khon Kaen - Kalasin - Nakhon Phanom
2) Ready customers (6 rice mills, 2 cassava factories, and other agribusiness)
3) Following East - West corridor
4) Support tourism in Isan
5) Those who live in Roi Et could use the Kalasin route as a substitute.
However, the Roi Et Chamber of Commerce have booed the Kalasin Chamber of Commerce by pointing out that:
1) Kalasin Route has to pass through Phoo Phan range which needs a TMB drilling machine.
2) Too few passengers along Phoo Phan range, compared to Roi Et with ready passengers to compel SRT to revitalize the passenger carriage assembly line.
3) Cheaper to construct with ready passengers along Thung Kula (the jasmine rice harvest area) with no steep track.
4) Ready market from jasmine rice cultivated and harvested at Roi Et heading to Laem Chabang in no time.
5) Those who live in Mahasarak, Hamand, Kalasin can use the route to Nakhon Phanom via Roi Et.
SRT Privatization - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Than Setthakij, September 22-24, 2005
SRT has come up with the final plan to clear 42 billion baht debt to be executed in October 2005-2006.
1) Transferring Phaholyothin (300 rai), Makkasan (400 rai), Chong Nonsee [Mae Nam Station - 300 rai] along with the area leased by BMA to Treasury to clear 27 billion baht debt
2) Set up three subsidiaries to allow the Ministry of Finance to clear 15 billion baht debt
2.1) SRT Asset Management Co. Ltd. to deal with Paholyothin, Central Plaza, Chatuchak Weekend Market along with the following stations:
Stations (including Yard) Area (Sq-m)
1) Thonburi 204,417.15
2) Bangsue - Klong Tan (Ratchadaphisek) 1,318,304.00
3) Kanchaburi 33,792.66
4) Chachongsao Junction 55,000.00
5) Aranyaprathet - Klong Luek 4,520,208.80
6) Phitsanuloke 218,289.39
7) Uttaradit 9,796.84
8) Chiang Mai 294,049.20
9) Surat Thani 123,091.20
10) Thungsong Junction 490,117.53
11) Hat Yai Junction 30,109.50
12) Songkla 263,220.39
13) Sugei Golok 429,813.46 -> Duty free
14) Nakhon Ratchasima 217,290.26
15) Khon Kaen 190,510.50
16) Udorn Thani 162,604.76
17) Buriram 61,517.77
18) Sisaket 50,490.00
19) Nakhon Lampang 91,865.81
20) Hua Hin 947,753.10
21) Chumporn 1,009,670.57 -> container yards
22) Yala 97,600.00
2.2) SRT Passenger Transportation Co. Ltd. to run passengers services with fair prices and full efficiency.
2.3) SRT Cargo Transportation Co. Ltd. will run cargo service with fair prices, full efficiency
3) Laying off/early retirement for 100 SRT officers while accepting only 5 officers at the top to ensure fewer officers while guaranteeing no shortage of manpower.
Note: The SRT Union has strongly opposed privatization... They have pointed out the more expensive services after privatization of PTT, TOT, and EGAT while the profits have allegedly been siphoned to Swiss Bank accounts of politicians.
Transfer of SRT land and SRT pension to Treasury not settled - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Matichon, August 24, 2005
The SRT debt of 42.7 billion baht and the 50.2 billion baht pension for 12,000 SRT workers as well as the exorbitant SRT land price are to be transferred to Treasury. However there is a 30-day delay since both SRT and Treasury could not settle on the land transfer.
Treasury said the price of SRT land at Makkasan, Bangsue [Pahholyothin] and Mae Nam of 30 billion baht plus 10 billion baht infrastructure removal is too high.
At best, Treasury Department said SRT land at Makkasan, Bangsue [Pahholyothin] and Mae Nam should be at 20 billion baht. The trespass of squatters on SRT land is another headache for both SRT and Treasury to handle.
Treasury Department asking SRT for long term lease of Makkasan-Phaholyothin to pay off debts - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Thaipost, August 15, 2005
The Treasury Department is asking SRT to allow a 60-year lease of the 500-rai Makkasan Maintenance Center and 600-rai Phaholyothin Yard through the Treasury Asset Management Co. Ltd. so the Ministry of Finance could pay off the debts for SRT.
The Treasury Department is also asking SRT to set up a subsidiary to run Chatuchak Weekend Market, Or Tor Kor Market and Central Plaza for SRT to realize the potential 60-70 billion baht/year revenue instead of the current 2 billion baht/year.
Treasury may have to apply pressure on the SRT board to comply with the Treasury Department plan.
There are currently 47 billion baht in debts for SRT and 50 billion baht pensions for 12,000 SRT workers.
Steam engines! - August 1, 2005
Rob Dickinson writes: As a long time (southeast) Asia freak dating from my time in Malaysia in the 70s which saw me in Thailand on the trains pretty often, I very much enjoyed discovering your website and have added a link to it on my own steam locomotive site.
Under your trains forum section I have posted a request for information on stationary steam engines to be found in Thai rice mills (definitely exist) and Thai sugar mills (no information available)...
Over the weekend 2B forumers were buzzing over Rob's truly interesting sites: A guide to the crusher/mill engines in Java's sugar mills - Temples of Steam - International Working Steam 2005 - Steam in Java, Indonesia, July 2005
Chanthaburi Chamber of Commerce pushing further extension of the Eastern Railway despite strong opposition - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily, July 21, 2005
The Chathaburi Chamber of Commerce has set up a seminar on "Does the new railway really boost the economy of the eastern region?" and has invited SRT, the provincial administration office from Rayong, Chanthaburi and Trat as well as TAT Central Region 4 office, Chanthaburi Tourist Association and local people to participate.
SRT representatives told the local people that the study results from 1998 show that the proposed 160 km railway track from Map ta Put to Trat Viarayong and Chanthaburi has a price tag for land expropriation of 8.4 billion baht and the construction cost of 16 billion baht for single track and 28 billion baht for double track (100 million baht/km for single track and 175 million baht/km for double track).
SRT said this route has little industrial value and is only good for transporting agriculture products (including fruit) which has a much smaller value than industrial products and thus little payoff. IT would take at least 100 years to break even.
However, the TAT office retorts that this line is good for a tourist boom along the eastern coast and TAT is pushing family tourism forward to boost revenue for the nation. Furthermore, local people have made a loud voice that "This Eastern Line to Chanthaburi-Trat must be built immediately!" "SRT is biased towards industrial estates against the will of the people!" "We'll fight tooth to nail to realize this project at all costs!"
SRT found that the rate of 4 baht for the first 10 km is not enough after floating diesel to 24-25 baht/litre. Therefore, SRT is asking for the new rate of 5 baht for the first 10 km instead of the current 2 baht for the first 10 km. The new review would come out by the end of this month to cover the extra expense of 80 million baht a month.
Four choices for high speed train route - Bangkok-Korat - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Than Setthakij, July 7, 2005
Mr Somsak Yangpreeda, SRT Chief Construction Engineer, told the press that after the cabinet has asked SRT about the studies on the high speed train on March 29, 2005 so as to cut travel time from more than 2-3 hours to 90 minutes or less. The final result would come up by the end of August 2005.
There are 4 routes to be chosen from:
1) New tracks parallel with the existing northern and northeastern lines up to Thanonchira Junction [Korat Station for high speed train with downtown Nakhon Ratchasima] - 250 km with a price tag of 119.352 billion baht
2) New track parallel with the existing Eastern Railway, Kaeng Khoi - Klong 19 bypass and Northeastern line - up to Thanonchira Junction - 293 km with a price tag of 127.137 billion baht
3) Bangsue - Bang Pa In - new shortcut to Kaeng Khoi - Klong 19 Bypass - New Motorway [Bang Pa In - Korat] - Thanon Chira route - 254 km with a price tag of 110.183 billion baht
4) Makkasan - Lad Krabang - new route to Rangsit Klong 14 (Ongkharak) - Banna - Kaeng Khoi - New Motorway [Bang Pa In - Korat] - Thanon Chira route - 276 km with a price tag of 118.077 billion baht
EDITORIAL: Logistics fiasco will prove costly - The Nation, July 06, 2005
...A recent study on Thailand's logistics sector commissioned by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) indicated the cost of logistics in Thailand was around 25-30 per cent of its gross domestic product, compared with 10 per cent in the US, 7 per cent in the EU, 11 per cent in Japan and 20 per cent in China...
Logistics plan - 40 billion baht for 39 project in 5 years - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Thairath, June 22, 2005
There will be 39 logistic projects with a price tag of 40.239 billion baht which are part of the following investment plan:
Year - Investment (billion baht)
2005 - 2.013
2006 - 7.329
2007 - 10.917
2008 - 11.736
2009 - 8.245
This investment includes the following critical projects:
1) Kaeng Khoi - Klong 19 - Chachoengsao Double Tracking - 5.920 billion baht
2) Chachoengsao - Sri Racha - Laem Chabang Double Tracking - 5.233 billion baht
3) The 2nd Lad Krabang ICD - 6.066 billion baht
4) Pak Bara Deep Sea Port - 5.494 billion baht - definitely need railway track
5) Connecting road for Chaing Saen 2 Port - 5.645 billion baht
6) Chaing Saen 2 Port - 1.107 billion baht
7) 100 km Eastern Coastal Route (Rayong - Changthaburi -Trat) - 1.5 billion baht
[Pak Bara Deep Sea port is the deep sea port for Andaman to compete with Port Klang of Malaysia. The strained relationship with Malaysia compels Thailand to come up with this project.]
The goals are to cut logistic costs from 19% of the product price in 2005 to 15% of the product price in 2009, cutting down the production cost by 15-20% by cutting fuel bills.
Single window e-logistics would cut logistic costs by 0.5% of EXIM prices [or more than 28.5 billion baht] and speed up the EXIM process from 8-10 days to 1-3 days.
Commentary by Wisarut: If they really want to further cut logistic costs, the Denchai - Phayao - Chaing rai, Surat Thani - Phang Nga - Thanun, and Bua Yai - Mukdahan - Nakhon Phanom routes as well as nationwide double tracking along with massive electrification and modern signal/telecom installation on the trunk lines. These have been waiting to become a reality for more than 60 years--some nearly 90 years.
SRT is asking the SRT Board to pay 141 million baht for compensation according to the assessment from CB Richard Ellis (Thailand) from June 21, 2005. The negotiation with Excaliber that asked for 200 million baht compensation (158 million from the assessment by the consultant hired by Excaliber plus extra compensation) for removing Nasa Spacedrome as well as a new lease on SRT land outside the construction area that will be done in the next 2 weeks.
Furthermore, SRT is asking another 100 million baht to pay STECON for removing NASA Spacedrome as well as the abandoned Hopewell pillars.
Most of the SRT land for the Airport Link has been transferred to STECON. Only the troublesome NASA Spacedrome and Hopewell pillars are the serious issues to be tackled.
Laos, Thailand cooperate in railway construction - VNA-Vietnam News Agency, June 15, 2005
Laos and Thailand have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the construction of a railway connecting Vientiane with Thailand's Nong Kai province, according to a Lao senior officer.
Under the MoU, the first 3.5 km-long section of the project will be built in Laos at a cost of 197 million baht, 30 percent of which will come from non-refundable aid and the rest from Thailand.
The second 9 km-long section will also be built in Laos with French grants worth 150 million Euros [6 billion baht] - to purchase Second hand Alsthom Locos and Diesel Railcars as well as the construction of Viangchan Railway Station and railway tracks.
The construction of the railway will be started in September this year and is expected to go through March, 2007, the MoU stated, adding that three Thai companies will be in charge of the construction.
SRT raising ticket prices for survival starting at 4.50 baht - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily, June 1, 2005
SRT Governor said they have to raise the railway ticket prices from the minimum 2 baht to minimum 4.50 baht to cover fuel hikes. This ticket hike is to be done along with service improvement which will be finalized in the next three months. SRT would ensure that the local people would not suffer from ticket hike as much as they fear since SRT is trying to give very fair prices.
SRT starting high speed train to Korat in 2006 - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily, May 31, 2005
SRT Director expects to start the high speed train from Bangkok to Korat (200 km) in 2006 and ready to open the system in 2009 with the ticket price of about 200 baht.
SRT has hired Apsicon and Citech (joint-venture companies) to design the high speed train route with a price tag of 35 million baht. The price tag for the construction of the high speed railway is 200 million baht/km (total 40 billion baht for construction and another 10-20 billion baht for high speed rolling stock).
The extension of the high speed train to the north and south are under consideration. The section from Denchai to Chiang Mai has so many mountains to pass it needs TBM drilling to construct very long tunnels. The demand for the southern route seems to have stabilized so it may not be worthy to construct.
Summaries on SRT ticket hike - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily, June 1, 2005
|The first 10 km for 3rd class||2.00 baht||4.50 baht|
|The rate for each km after 10 km||Old rates||Old rate x (1.05 -1.07)|
|The 3rd class rate for each km (11-100 km)||Old rates||0.21 baht/km|
|The 2nd class rate for each km (11-100 km)||Old rates||0.48 baht/km|
|The 1st class rate for each km (11-100 km)||Old rates||0.93 baht/km|
The rate of 2 baht for the first 10 km has been used since 1985 and it deserves to be raised. Even though the new rates can cover only 50-60% of the fuel prices SRT has raised the railway cargo rates by 6%--effective in the next week.
Goals set by MOF for SRT rehab - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Transport Journal, May 16-22, 2005
SRT has failed to keep up with passenger demand for available and comfortable seats, so they get fewer passengers. SRT also failed to haul cargo in a speedy manner and at massive volumes to keep up with market demand, so they cannot reap the profits from lucrative cargo transportation.
SRT also failed to improve the quality of the human resources and mishandles the organizational management so they cannot increase output from the existing workers.
SRT has 75.087 billion baht assets and 56.182 billion baht liability and 44 billion baht in debts so stringent measures from MOF have to be applied.
After splitting SRT into three companies (SRT Passenger Service, SRT Cargo Service, and SRT Asset Management), MOF has set goals for three SRT subsidiaries as follows to obtain government loans:
1) SRT Cargo must increase the container transport from 525,600 units in 2004 to more than 800,000 units in 2009.
2) SRT Passenger must increase annual passengers from 15 million passengers in 2004 to more than 20 million passengers in 2009.
3) SRT Asset Management must hire the private sector to help them boost revenue at least doubling revenue from leasing from the current 2004 level. This means a rent hike for Central Pattana, Central Market Organization, Chatuchak Weekend Market, and the entertainment venues along Ratchada Road and RCA.
These measures also force SRT to speed up Makkasan CAT and Makkasan Center, Energy Complex at Chatuchak, Phaholyothin Center andPhaholyothin CAT, Mae Nam Station development after removing fuel reserve tanks. The consequence of this rush are irregularities on the Suvannabhum Airport Link which only had 15 days for a feasibility study and blueprints in three months after starting even though the committee has not finished inspecting the blueprints yet. This can become a potential Hopewell 2.
List of complaints on Lad Krabang ICD - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Transport Journal, May 16-22,2005
Even after SRT have been correcting the problems listed in the complaints from TIFFA ICD Co. Ltd. (the company that runs Lad Krabang ICD for SRT), some are still waiting for a resolution such as:
1) Overtime payment for custom officers. It is a real big burden for enterprises that have to pay overtime due to custom officers after 5:30pm and they need to pay three times for each officer who has three overtime shifts from 5:30pm to 8:30am next day. If there is a way to reduce or even eliminate this overtime payment, they would welcome the measure.
2) SRT has to speed up the nationwide double tracking and track rehab projects along with the installation of modern signals and telecom networks to facilitate both cargo and passenger traffic which now has reached conflict levels since passenger and cargo lines are competing for the schedule suited to their needs (e.g. both want to get the morning schedule, but the single track would not allow them to get what they want).
New sets of standard locos for cargo trains as well as new sets of BCF (30 BCFs for each set) along with container boxes for rent since SRT can not supply container boxes which compels railway cargo customers to buy their own container boxes--a burden to the companies.
SRT has 75.087 billion baht assets and 56.182 billion baht liabilities with 18.905 billion baht in capital. 44 billion baht in debts with 2 billion baht pensions and employs 18,000 workers.
Officials stunned: SRT land returns only 2% of potential revenue - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily, May 10, 2005
Minister Somkid and Minister Suriya are inspecting SRT and asking MOF and SRT to set up a joint committee to handle the SRT land development in one month which has the main purpose to make a joint venture with the private sector to boost more revenue from land development to pay off debts, accumulate interest and money for pension funds.
SRT governor said the targets are at Makkasan Center, Phaholyothin Railway Yard, Mae Nam Station and the Agriculture Market Organization. These are to boost the revenue to 10-20 billion baht a year.
The MOF Minister said that SRT must focus on debt reduction, financial empowerment, better business strategy, and higher service efficency--especially national logistics which has high profit potential (up to 40% profit).
So far, SRT failed to realize the potential due to 44 billion baht debt, 2 billion baht annual interest payment, and 2 billion baht annual pension payments. Therefore, the SRT Governor is asking for help from the Treasury Department, Department of Comptroller General, and State Enterprise Policy Committee to find a plan to handle debt, accumulate interest, and pension funds as well as SRT land development.
MOF said pension funds and accumulated interest from SRT debts are not a big deal and the government will ensure that all retired SRT officers and workers would get pension payments in full and creditors would get steady interest payment on time.
However, SRT must come up with a working plan to boost revenue at full efficiency to pay off debts and other expenses instead of asking for an annual bailout from the government budget.
MOF would give 30 days to finish the plan for SRT revenue from SRT assets and debt payments to be submitted to MOF and MOTC. MOF feel stunned that the 60 billion baht potential of SRT assets has yielded only 2 billion baht annual revenue from rent--less than 2% of potential--too ridiculously low revenue for MOF to bail out SRT.
MOTC also feel that SRT failed to fulfill the obligation to handle national transport. For example,
1) Sugar mills in Khon Kaen are asking SRT to transport 1 million tons of sugar to Laem Chabang but SRT can carry only 120,000 tons of sugar to Laem Chabang.
2) The tapioca mills in Isan are asking SRT to transport 600,000 tons of tapioca flour to Bangkok and Laem Chabang, but SRT could only carry 80,000 tons of tapioca flour.
SRT governor said SRT and MOF have come up with the plan for SRT asset management,
1) Asking Treasury Department to handle SRT potential assets
2) Making a joint venture with SRT and the private sector
3) SRT subsidiary to handle SRT assets
The potential SRT land for 10-20 billion baht annual revenue are:
1) 500 rai of Makkasan Center
2) Market Organization for Farmers at Kamphaengphet 2 Road (lease expires in October 2005)
3) Mae Nam Station
4) Phaholyothin Railway yard
The Treasury Department and SRT are also waiting for the expiration of leases on the following areas:
1) Central Lad Phrao (expires in December 2008)
2) Chatuchak Weekend Market (expires in 2012)
3) Hotel and Massage Parlors along Ratchadaphisek Ring road
4) Land in major stations (e.g. Bangsue, Donmuang, Laksi, Ayutthaya, Lopburi, Sila At, Denchai, Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ubon, Udon, Khon Kaen, Yala, Sugei Golok, Nakhon Sri Thammarat, Chachoengsao, etc.)
There is 233,862 rai of SRT land. 186,639 rai for route areas which are not to be sold at any price. 3107 rai is for SRT worker housing and SRT apartments. Makkasan Center and Phaholyothin Railyard have 1815 rai of potential land.
There is also 36,793 rai of SRT land not developed yet, with 2160 rai of undeveloped land in Bangkok. The net loss of SRT in 2004 was 6.569 billion baht.
MOF bailing SRT out of the 44
billion baht debts - translated and summarized
by Wisarut Bholsithi from Thairath, Dailynews, Matichon,
May 10, 2005
Minister Somkid told the SRT Board after the visiting SRT that SRT has three main tasks to handle SRT assets and SRT debts.
1) Increasing financial potential to pay off debts
2) Introducing new business strategies and service management
3) Rehabilitating by reorganizing SRT
MOF would approve the budget and underwrite the loan for SRT to increase the logistic potential if SRT has followed all the three recommendations.
Currently, there is 44 billion baht of SRT debt with 2 billion baht for annual interest payment, 2 billion baht for pension funds for 12,000-13,000 retired SRT officers.
Therefore, MOF is asking for a new plan to cut debt while boosting the efficiency so that SRT would cut the annual interest payment to 1 billion baht a year or less.
MOF has set up a committee headed by the Director of Comptroller General Department and Director of Treasury Department to handle SRT debt and revenue boosting by increasing potential from SRT assets of 100 billion baht. So far, SRT could manage to reap the revenue of 2 billion baht from potential SRT assets of 60-70 billion baht which is too little to pay off the debt and handle pension funds.
Furthermore, poor management of SRT assets have resulted in the ridiculous rates on the high potential assents such as the annual rate on SRT land at Central Ladphrao of 2.75 million baht/rai (6.875 million baht/acre in 1 year).
MOF is asking SRT and Turnaround Co. Ltd. to make a joint study on SRT assent management of which there are three choices such as
1. Setting up an asset management company or asset funds.
2. Setting up SRT subsidiaries to handle asset management.
3. Hiring the profession to handle asset management or allowing private sector to handle SRT asset management.
Otherwise, SRT must transfer SRT assets to the Treasury Department and Treasury Department would set up the Treasury Asset management to handle SRT assets.
The new plan must be delivered to MOF 30 days after the MOF visits to SRT Board.
The Financial Statement of SRT in 2004 said that:
SRT loss: 5.82198 billion baht-> most due to indirect expenses such as 1.95932 billion baht on the annual interest payment, 2.29487 billion baht pension funds.
SRT debts: 44 billion baht with the burden from the annual pension expense of 2 billion baht
The future accumulated SRT pension expenses: 34.8 billion baht
The SRT land: 233,862 rai with the market price of 200 billion baht (60-70 billion baht of SRT land has commercial viability)
The revenue from SRT land: 2.4 billion baht a year (need to double this revenue immediately)
Even Minister Suriya said SRT cannot handle adequate amount of the cargo traffic to Laem Chabang Port which are a lucrative revenue making service subject to market prices. For example, sugar mills in Khon Kaen are asking SRT to handle transportation of 1 million tons of sugar to Laem Chabang, but SRT can carry only 120,000 tons of sugar from Khon Kaen to Laem Chabang.
Commentary by Wisarut: This could explain why the Khon Kaen Chamber of Commerce is desperate for Khon Kaen ICD, the double tracking from Kaeng Khoi to Bua Yai all the way up to Khon Kaen via the Lum Narai shortcut. As well as track rehab to allow 20 ton axle load and 120 kph max speed and signal modernization.
This could also explain the desperation of SRT to get a new class of powerful diesel locos to handle more cargo. Hitachi locos have the turbo charger problems which require horse power reduction from 2900 HP (MAN engines) to 2500 HP (Cummins Engine of GEA) while Traction Motors have frequent breakdowns due to heavy works requiring carbon brush replacement even before the due dates.
On other hand, the easygoing GEA locos are too few to to fulfill both passenger services and cargo services so the good old GEK are still working despite being in service for 40 years. The standard ALSTHOM locos also have frequent breakdowns of traction motors and overheating due to overwork.
Even the KTM Class 24 leased from KTMB have experienced the same engine breakdown from overheating problems as the standard ALSTHOM locos due to the overloading with daily cargo between Bangsue and Padang Besar. Leasing the GE Blue Tigers from KTMB is out of question since the track from Padang Besar to Ipoh has not been rehabilitated to handle the heavy Blue Tiger locos.
Probably, SRT should consider leasing or purchasing at least 40 YDM4 locos from India Railway as the way to cope with loco shortages.
SUBURBAN RAILWAY: SRT against proposal for electric train - The Nation, March 31, 2005
The State Railway of Thailand's goal of undertaking a suburban rail network could be side-tracked if the government agrees to a proposal to set up a new agency to handle the project...
The source said the SRT was opposed to the proposal. It has tried to lobby the office to stick using to diesel cars, which will require a comparatively lower investment...
Phase 2 double tracking with a price tag of 56 billion baht - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Matichon Daily, March 9, 2005 and Manager Daily, March 9, 2005
SRT Governor said SRT is going to support national logistics by coming up with the following double track scheme after fierce negotiation between SRT regional directors.
1) Lad Krabang ICD - Chachoengsao - Sri Racha - Laem Chabang (78.86 km + 33.03 km = 111.89 km) with a price tag of 5.3 billion baht
[The section from Lad Krabang ICD to Chachongsao is 33.03 km]
[The section from Chachoengsao - Laem Chabang is 78.86 km]
After finishing the the first double track two years after starting the construction, SRT will start the double track of the following lines to complete the phase 2 double tracking.
2) Lopburi - Nakhon Sawan (112.97 km)
3) Chachoengsao - Klong 19 - Kaeng Khoi (107.45 km)
4) Prachuab Khirikhan - Surat Thani (332.69 km)
5) Kaeng Khoi - Pakchong - Nakhon Ratchasima (138.55 km)
Total (2-5): 691.66 km
Total (1-5 -> ICD - Chachongsao not included due to triple track): 770.52 km
The price tag for (2)-(6): 56.775 billion baht (75 million baht/km - total 757 km)
The axle load: 20 tons on meter gauge
This will effectively cut the cargo transportation from Nakhon Ratchasima to Bangkok to 2 1/2 hours from more than 3-4 hours. This also speed up the cargo transportation especially between Prachuab Khirikhan-Surat Thani during the night cargo transportation between Bangsue and Padang Besar.
SRT making more profit from cargo transport - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Thairath, February 24, 2005
SRT Governor said after concentrating on cargo transport and passenger transports while cutting expenses, it has made a big profit--330.9 million baht profit before discounting depreciation, tax and interest. The revenue from the transportation between Laem Chabang and Ladkrabang ICD increased by 15% and the estimated revenue from cargo transport is 2.4 billion baht--up by 373 million baht--while the revenue form passenger service will be 4.437 billion baht--up by 272 million baht. Better fuel management also cuts down fuel expense by 10 million baht a month without reducing cargo and passenger services. The control on spare part procurement also cuts down expense by 11%.
However, SRT needs further improvement so that 60% of profit come from cargo and container transportation (780 million baht) from the current level of 28.50%.
SRT Financial Advisers say there is 30,000 rai of SRT land to be transferred to the Treasury Dept with a price tag of 60 billion baht and the loss of 40 billion baht which is going to be transferred to the Ministry of Finance. However, SRT has reserved Makkasan and Phaholyothin for their own revenue making.
On the forum: Double tracking project cut from 4000 km to 800 km - February 18, 2005
Bid to revive coastal rail route - Bangkok Post, February 18, 2005
A senate panel will ask the new government to revive a 163-km Surat Thani-Phangnga rail route linking the Gulf coast to the Andaman coast...
Pinya Chuayplod, chairman of the senate panel, said the route was first conceived in 1938. A royal decree was subsequently issued for land expropriation to allow construction of the route stretching from Surat Thani's Phun Phin district to Ban Tha Nun in tambon Khok Loy of Phangnga's Takua Thung district opposite Phuket.
However, only 31km of the route was completed before construction was forced to a halt by budget limitations...
SRT threatens to seize Chatuchak Weekend Market - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Than Setthakij, February 13-16, 2005 and Dailynews, February 15, 2005
[The subtext here is that BMA makes a fortune from black market leasing of market space at higher than legal rates. SRT wants a piece of this action.]
BMA Treasury told the press that the readjustment of leasing terms for Chatuchak Weekend Market from 32 baht/sq meter to 394-447 baht/sq meter which have been applied since 2001 is too much for BMA to digest since BMA has collected the leases of Chatuchak Weekend Market at the legal rate of about 100 baht/sq. meter [while collecting at a black market rate of 1000-2000 baht/sq. meter]. The acceptable rates after 2012 for BMA should be 50-300 baht/sq-meter.
Furthermore, BMA also owes 154.4 million baht unpaid debt for the leasing of SRT land at Chatuchak Weekend Market despite the rate readjustment since 2001. The leasing of SRT land at Chatuchak Weekend Market is going to be expire in 2012 with the expected unpaid debts of 463.0 million baht and BMA is going to make another 30-year lease.
If BMA still refuses to pay the unpaid debts, SRT has to seize the control of Chatuchak Weekend Market and SRT has its own plan to upgrade Chatuchak Weekend Market to become an air-conditioned weekend market for Phaholyothin Transportation Center while they will ask those who lease the space within Chatuchak Weekend Market to pay the lease directly into SRT's coffers instead of paying via BMA.
Train link to Vientiane - January 29, 2005
Interesting thread on the forum about where the rail link from Thailand to Laos ends in the middle of the road as it enters Laos.
- January 13, 2005
Regarding the sunflower train thread, Nils made the trip last month and here are two of his photos.
Above: First stop in the sunflower fields. The farmers make a business of it, entry is 5 baht.
Below: 383-395 General Electric No. 4559 and the train on the viaduct. If you sit in the train, it really sort of feels like floating on the water.
|Wisarut adds some links to Thai-language articles:
telling a lie to the budget auditing bureau about corruption in
BMTA - BMTA bosses applying mafia pressure to kick those who expose
the corruption within BMTA - Siam Thurakij, January 26-28,
Anti-money laundering going to seize assets of those who involved with the double tracking project scandal - Manager Daily, January 27, 2005
Premier Thaksin telling the press that no TRT members were involved in the double tracking scandal as the Democrats and Mahachon claim - Manager Daily, January 27, 2005
Railway double tracking scandal of Democrats in 1993 has come back to haunt them - Manager Daily, January 27, 2005
Also: More cynical view about exposing the double tracking scandals for political gain (from Thai Railfan) is here.
Double tracking from Chachongsao to
Laem Chabang - translated and summarized by Wisarut
Bholsithi from Dailynews, December 24, 2004
SRT is going to ask for the approval of double tracking from Chachongsao to Laem Chabang since there is a surging demand for cargo transportation which is going to saturate the capacity of the railway track from Chachognsao to Laem Chabang very soon-- jamming the traffic of the northern cargo train to Laem Chabang and Laem Chabang Port that is undergoing the 2nd phase expansion.
The Plan for Chachognsao - Sri Racha - Laem Chabang Double tracking can be described as follows:
Laem Chabang Double tracking project
Price Tag: 5.235 billion baht
Specifications: 20 ton axle load with maximum speed of 120 kph
Distance: 78 km (Chachoengsao - Sri Racha - Laem Chabang)
Bidding form making + Blueprint: 0.089 billion baht
Control of the Construction Project: 0.160 billion baht
Construction + Signal Installation + Telecommunication system: 4.986 billion baht
1) 30 minutes faster than the current schedule defined for the route to Laem Chabang
2) Facilitate the cargo transportation at Laem Chabang for 3.9 million units of containers (2006 target)
3) Improve the cargo capacity at ICD to handle more than 1 million containers a year
4) Enable SRT to run the daily passenger service to Pattaya and beyond - not just the weekday
5) Maximize the utility of Cargo route (Klong 19 - Kaeng Khoi).
6) Support the industrial expansion at Map Ta Phut
The benefits: 12.40% Economic benefit, 4.61% Financial benefit
The Progressive: Environmental Assessment form Chachognsao - Laem Chabang done in November 2004.
April 2005: Bidding
July 2005: Construction started
December 2005: Signal and telecom installation
October 2007: Open the double track (with incomplete signal installation)
Jan 2008: Signal + telecom installation done (to replace the radio communication)
2005: 1 billion baht
Bidding + Blueprint - 0.089 billion baht
Control of the Contract - 0.121 billion baht
Construction and Signal + Telecom Installation - 0.890 billion baht
2006: 2.95 billion baht
Control of the Contract - 0.070 billion baht
Construction and Signal + Telecom Installation - 2.880 billion baht
2007: 1.247 billion baht
Control of the Contract - 0.064 billion baht
Construction and Signal + Telecom Installation - 1.183 billion baht
2008: 0.038 billion baht
Control of the Contract - 0.005 billion baht
Construction and Signal + Telecom Installation - 0.033 billion baht
What SRT workers are saying - December 17, 2004
The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) workers are a proud group working for an antiquated state agency considered in great need of reform. Their union is packed with non-railway workers and used as a political football. Purchasing scandals are continuous. However, respectful of their long heritage of service and resentful they were not given the chance to run the Skytrain, SRT workers ride the rails from one corner of the country to the other, fixing decades-old railcars with ingenious homegrown technology. With the upcoming removal of the historic heart of SRT at Makkasan for the Airport Link, Wisarut listened in to scuttlebutt from the rank-and-file SRT workers and files the following report on the talk going around:
Overdue railway cars
SRT has erected a block on the railway track beyond Sugei Golok Station which prevents any railway transportation across Golok River due to the worsening situation as well as the resentment against KTMB by SRT workers.
KTMB has borrowed cargo carriages from SRT and they keep them along the eastern coast from Tumpat to Singapore and they have used and abused them and kept them past the return date.
When KTMB did return the cargo carriages, they just simply dump them at Padang Besar, and SRT workers have to haul them back to Makkasan for major repair and maintenance without being paid anything for late return. Even worse, some of them are so damaged that they are beyond repair. So decommissioned cargo carriages are dumped into the sea around Pattani and Narathiwat to make artificial coral reefs.
When SRT workers are just few days late in returning flat wagons for container transportation, KTMB workers act like a 'bunch of crybabies with mustaches' and then they impose a steep fine on SRT.
Another strain is about the anti dumpling. Malaysia imposed anti-dumpling on Thai steel and the they allow only Thai Steel products without trademarks to go across the border by train or truck. Once the Thai steel is in Malaysia, they just simply stamp them with Malaysian barcodes and trademarks.
E & O Train
The following are the signs of the strained relationship between Thailand and Singapore
DBS Bank from Singapore is the actual owner of the luxurious E & O Train. They just pay 30,000 baht for using Thai Railway networks to Chaingmai and Kanchanaburi while they reap the handsome profit of 60,000 baht/passenger and they can pay off the debt including the interest for the project in only three years, thanks to strong demand.
Therefore, DBS Bank (the true owner of E & O) should pay for the fuel as well as the extra bonus to SRT railwaymen.
Furthermore, DBS Bank wants to start the Singapore-Kunming cargo train along with the E & O extension to Kunming and they found that it would cut lots time if the route goes up north instead of going east to use Vietnam Railway, Cambodian Railway, and Eastern Railway. However, they will ask Thailand to borrow from World Bank/ADB first and even the creditors from the mainland China and then DBS will finance the debts (and reap the profit from interests and fee) for the Thai government.
However, the Thai government said It is not a very fair deal even though the route from Denchai to Chaingrai is a part of this project since the government has to borrow the money, but other countries will reap the benefits.
Revival of Songkal-Hat Yai rail link
Thus Premier Thaksin has come up with the revival of Songkal-Hat Yai and the cargo line to Satul after Pak Bara Deep Sea port becomes a reality. This will include a pipeline which angers Singapore to such an extent that DBS Bank refuses to help Thailand to finance Denchai-Chiang Rai projects unless Singapore reaps the benefits of the project instead of Thailand.
SRT is making money - translated
and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily, December
SRT is planning to purchase 17 locos (90 million baht/loco) from China with a price tag of 1.53 billion baht to replace the decommissioned ones and to handle the ICD-Laem Chabang Route. In 2004, SRT managed to make a 200 million baht profit.
After getting cabinet approval, SRT is going to purchase 17 new locomotives from China to replace the old and decommissioned ones and to handle the ICD - Laem Chabang route.
The first seven Chinese loco will come to Thailand in 2005 while the other 10 will follow in 2006. The Port Authority also said they will pay SRT for two new sets of cargo trains (30 bogeys/set) to serve the Laem Chabang route.
So far, SRT had made 500 million baht profit, but it needs to pay salary hike of 300 million baht to SRT workers. The cost cutting measures and the new revenue sources along with the utility maximization on railway services are the main contributors to SRT profit.
SUE LINK: 'Best option is a private operator' -
The Nation, November 24, 2004
...The partially elevated 60-kilometre rail route would cost about Bt38.3 billion to build. The private sector would foot Bt10.4 billion of the cost, while the government would cough up Bt27.9 billion. The 18-kilometre road, with seven exits, would cost Bt24.15 billion, which would be paid for with Bt9.2 billion in loans, Bt8.7 billion in land acquisition subsidies, Bt4.86 billion from private investors, and Bt1.4 billion in the form of investment subsidies.
The route would pass through Talingchan, Bang Bamru and Bang Son to Bang Sue...
SRT land assets may be developed - Bangkok Post, November 15, 2004
...Annual losses for the SRT stand at about five billion baht, with accumulated losses as of the end of June totaling 18 billion. The SRT has total assets of 75 billion baht and liabilities of 45 billion.
...The vast majority of the land represents core assets used to support the SRT's operations, such as train stations, depots as well as the 40-metre wide trackbed that lies under the agency's rail network across the country.
But the agency also holds some 36,000 rai of non-core property, including several prime spots such as the current site of the Central Lat Phrao shopping complex.
...For the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, authorities want the bus service to restructure its routes to act as a feeder system linked with the skytrain and subway systems.
Dr Areepong said BMTA routes would become shorter, but would have buses run with greater frequency to help accommodate traffic.
Under the agency's restructuring plan, its bus fleet would be cut to 4,000 from 7,000 to help cut costs.
extensions fast-tracked - The Nation,
October 22, 2003
...On September 28, the Cabinet approved part of the development, the 23-kilometre elevated Bang Sue-Bang Yai route, which is scheduled for completion in August 2008.
The remaining 71 kilometres are divided among three routes. The blue line covers 27 km from Hua Lamphong to Bang Khae, and Bang Sue to Tha Phra, while the 24-km orange line will run from Bang Kapi to Bang Bamru and the 20-km purple line will stretch from Bang Sue to Rat Burana....
Electrified rail from Chiang Mai to Mae Hongsorn
via Mae Sariang - translated and summarized
by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily, October 17, 2004
Mae Hongsorn Tourist Association is appealing to Deputy PM Wisanu about the the new railway track from Chiang Mai to Mae Hongsorn after the Thai Inter flight schedule from Chiang Mai to Mae Hongsorn has become irregular, creating lots of trouble with arrangements for tourism in Mae Hongsorn. The main revenue for Mae Hongsorn is tourism and border trade--11 billion baht in 2003.
They even ask for a new tunnel for the railway line in addition to the permanent border checkpoint at Ban Huay Phuen (Huay Pha Commune, Muang District of Mae Hongsorn) which has been delayed for too long.
So far, only the rehabilitation of Highway 108 and Highway 1095 have been undertaken. It depends upon the mood of the government as to whether they will grant the budget with the commitment to complete the project.
Note: Comment on this project is here.
Thianthong family and SRT concessions
- September 28, 2004
Wisarut reports on more 'lucky' families: The nationwide concession for railway tickets won by the Thianthong family has raised very angry voices against TRT. The company that got the concession for the advertising on SRT tickets is owned by children of Saoh Thianthong (the main political broker in Thai Rak Thai). That has upset lots of people since they think that only the children of the Prime Minister as well as the children of prominent politicians in the government can get such sweet deals while the rest will get nothing at all. It is also rumored that the children of Sanoh Thianthong will get another deal--advertising on the railway bogies...
Consultants competing for high speed train project
- translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily,
September 28, 2004
There are two consultants competing for the high speed train with the payment to consultants of 38 million baht. SRT will hire the consultant by the end of October 2004 and then they will take 4 months to study the high speed railway before submitting the plan to the government. Nakhon Ratchasima provincial hall has pushed this project so hard that they have come up with two committees to handle the feasibility. They even came up with the plan to handle the operation once the high speed train has become a reality.
This is a 100 billion baht high speed train project to solve the bottleneck of Mittraphab Highway (highway that links Isan with the rest of the country) which causes too many fatal and tragic accidents during festival times.
So far, the two consultants competing for this project are:
1. AEC (the consortium of Asia Engineering Consultant Co. Ltd., Thai Engineering Consultant Co. Ltd., Pacific Consultant International Co. Ltd., Pacific Consultant International (Thailand) Co.Ltd.)
2. SEA TEC (the consortium of Southeast AsiaTechnology Co. Ltd., Epsilon Co.Ltd., AMP Consultant Co.Ltd., and Scott Wilson Patrick (Thailand) Co.Ltd.)
SRT Board is asking both companies to show their vision as well as the details on the feasibility studies so as to mark the score on technical issues. After that, SRT Board till send and invite bids. The winner who bids at the price lower than 38 million will get the contract signed immediately. However, if the quoted price of the winner is still too high, SRT will negotiate with the company to cut the budget.
The feasibility studies will consist of five main objectives:
2. Related engineering affairs
3. Environmental impact assessment on each route
4. Feasibility of the investment and suitable ticket prices
5. Economic and social benefit assessment and other suggestion on the way to start and finish the project.
The winning company will have to finish all this job in four months before submitting the final plan to SRT and then SRT will submit the plan to the government so as to get cabinet approval.
If the government approves the project, SRT will ask for the budget the studies on the construction and the capitalization plan - either joint venture or private investment.
Nakhon Ratchasima has set up two committees to handle this High Speed Train project.
First is the committee for supporting the feasibility studies - such as he choices for routes, the station at Pakchong District and the new Nakhon Ratchasima Station. The Provincial Hall also tries to get the ideas from the public and private section in all 19 Isan provinces after SRT could get the consultant to handle this project.
The 1st committee is also planning the urban expansion of Nakhon Ratchasima with support from JICA (JICA: Japan International Cooperation Agency) along with the preparation of becoming the center of Logistic Organic Agriculture Hub, the double tracking of the Railway in Nakhon Ratchasima, the New ICD (ICD:Inland Container Depot) as the way to boost Nakhon Ratchasima into a Logistics Center and meet the cabinet resolution of February 22, 2004.
The second committee is handling the preparation of economic growth and industrial investment so as to boost foreign investment. in Nakhon Ratchasima after the high speed train to Nakhon Ratchasima has become a reality. It will cover the labor, the basic structure, environment, and quality of life for the local people.
Nakhon Ratchasima has set the first choice for the route:
Makkasan - Banna (New City) - Pakchong (Phoom Muang Isan) - Nakhon Ratchasima with total distance of 223 km and the travel time of 56 minutes. This will fit into the government strategy as well as helping Thai-foreign travelers, businessmen, bureaucrat men, and the common man in all 19 province within Isan region.
Commentary by Wisarut: Debates on the merits of this HST project from Makkasan to Nakhon Ratchasima can be seen at the following websites (here and here). Many Thai railfans feel very skeptical of this project as well as opposite the plan unless Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Hall comes up with a better plan for the route which has to pass Khao Yai National Park.
Special DMU Commuter train Bangkok-Ayudhaya
- translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Matichon,
September 11, 2004
Ayudhaya City Hall is asking SRT to introduce a special DMU commuter service from Bangkok to Ayudhaya at the price of 41 baht/trip to cut down the traffic between Bangkok and Ayudhaya and promote energy savings. The DMU used for this route is the air-conditioned sprinter DMU. There would be 4 daily trips between Bangkok and Ayudhaya for this special DMU--2 inbound (1 morning and 1 evening) and 2 outbounds (1 morning and 1 evening) with total distance of 71 km and 65 minutes from one terminal to another.
There will be seven stations along the routes: Bangkok, Bangsue, Bangkhen, Laksi, Donmuang, Rangsit, Bang Pa In, and Ayudhaya. New park and ride at Ayudhaya will be able to handle 300 cars as a way to attract those who live in Singhburi and Ang Thong to use this service instead of driving all the way to Bangkok.
Commentary by Wisarut: Due to the DMU shortage, SRT has been using the GEK loco and JR West DMU bogies (without engines) for commuter services (up to Lopburi in the north and to Chachoingsao to the East). I hope that there will be serviceable DMUs since they have been heavily used (such as the 1000-km route from Bangkok to Yala to please those who live in Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat--at the expense of infrequent maintenance and broken down engines).
Loco overhaul/SRT park and rides
- translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily,
August 19, 2004
SRT said they will modify existing locos (especially the familiar Alstom locos--the loco that Thai railwaymen love to drive) to enable the locos to use NGV instead of diesel since diesel costs SRT 14.59 baht/litre while NGV costs SRT only 6-7 baht/litre (Manager Daily: August 19, 2004).
SRT is going to set up three park and rides for the Subway and Skytrain which is close to SRT land:
1) Hua Lamphong (set up a permanent P & R building in addition to the existing parking lot)
3) Kamphaeng Phet (opposite to Or Tor Kor Market)
Khorat high-speed train opinions -
August 11, 2004
Wisarut reports on goings on in Thai-language forums: When Khorat People ask for a High Speed Rail, those people from Chiangmai, Hatyai and Eastern Seaboard yell back to Khorat people since they consider themselves much better than those bumpkins who have political connections in Khorat.
Earlier: Khorat people urging Thaksin to start the high speed rail system - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager, August 5, 2004
The Nakhon Ratchasima governor said they are in the process of hiring the consultant to handle the feasibility study for the project. Khorat Provincial Hall is urging Premier Thaksin (who is going to visit Khorat) to push this project hard for the benefit of Isan people.
Furthermore, Khorat Provincial Hall is lobbying to become the SEAGAMES host for Thailand--competing with Hatyai-Songkla--after the successful Chaingmai Games in 1995 has set the precedent for other major provinces to compete tooth and nail to become a host.
Spare part shortage forcing SRT
to negotiate with Railway Authority of Malaysia (KTMB) about locomotive
leasing - translated and summarized by Wisarut
Bholsithi from Manager Daily & Matichon Daily, July
SRT is in trouble because of a shortage of spare parts due to the restriction from Minister Suriya after the inspection at Makkasan. Minister Suriya complained that Makkasan maintenance center has stocked too many spare parts creating inventory cost, so the SRT Board refuses to approve any more spare part procurement. Only the absolutely necessary cases will be rare exceptions. There are more than 10 locos waiting for new spare parts to keep them serviceable at Makkasan. Cargo transportation is a money making service which SRT has to boost up as much as possible.
Therefore, the SRT Board has to come up with special procurement. for spare parts to keep the locos running to make more revenue. Furthermore, SRT is going to rent locos from KTMB (Railway Authority of Malaysia) as a temporary solution. Regular procurement. will take about eight months to be completed. However, the procurement. of spare parts has caused lots of trouble since SRT has to stock too many spare parts. After the restrictions on spare part procurement, many locos lie idle due to the lack of spare parts to keep them serviceable.
Presently, the procurement. of spare parts has to pass direct inspection from the SRT Governor since those who run Makkasan Maintenance Depot have purchased and stocked many poor quality spare parts which caused the Ministry's complaints. This direct inspection will help SRT to cut procurement. costs by 20% while getting much higher quality spare parts to keep the good old GEK, the familiar ALSTOM, the powerful Hitachi, and the comfortable GEA locos running well since many SRT railwaymen complained that now many locos have been overworked and desperate for spare parts to keep them running.
Laem Chabang/Ladkrabang rail scheme
- translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Matichon Daily,
July 26, 2004
The Port Authority is asking SRT to set up a joint venture company to run the direct cargo service from Ladkrabang ICD to Laem Chabang while Port Authority is going to lend SRT 1.2 billion baht to purchase new locos and new cargo bogeys [Port Authority is a money maker state enterprise] so as to enable SRT to run cargo service between Laem Chabang and Ladkrabang ICD with 30 bogeys at each time, 4-6 times a day, 7 days a week. The joint venture also help both enterprises to cut down red tape and enables both to speed up the logistic procedures.
Government approves funds for Laem
Chabang double tracking - translated and summarized
by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily, July 24, 2004
The government has approved 10 billion baht to restructure agricultural sector so as to compete with Australia and other countries after the FTA treaty becomes effective. The starting funds for restructuring agriculture are 1 billion baht.
Furthermore, the government has approved funds (5 billion baht) for Laem Chabang Double Tracking (Chachoengsao - Sri Racha - Laem Chabang) to cut down road damage by trucks and save fuel bills.
SRT director said SRT has received the Year 2005 budget allocation of 8.026772 billion baht which can be separated into 2 sections
1) Land Transportation - 7.617726 billion baht
1.1) Salary - 5.470036 billion baht
1.2) Double Tracking - 2.006940 billion baht
1.3) Suvannabhum Airport Link - 0.140750 billion baht
2) Debt Payments - 0.409046 billion baht
2.1) Diesel electric Loco Loan - 0.013467 billion baht
2.2) Sri Racha - Laem Chabang, Sri Rachai - Sattahip Loan - 0.009199 billion baht
2.3) Kaengkhoi - Klong Sip Kao Loan - 0.182734 billion baht
2.4) Double Tracking Loan - 0.203646 billion baht
For the year of 2004 (May 31, 2004), SRT has 5.935 billion baht revenue and 5.362 billion baht expense. Before paying interest and pension (EBITDA) 0.573 billion baht net profit. This marginal profit is due to the cutting of expenses and revenue boosting especially from cargo service. The expected revenue from cargo service is 1.7 billion baht - up from 1.5 billion baht in 2003 by 15%. The passenger revenue is about 3.1 billion baht - not up that much since they cannot raise ticket prices and fees. So, more cargo trips and more cargos for each trip boosts revenue.
Even the cargo service adds 23 million baht revenue for each month in 2004 - compared with a 21 million baht revenue hike in 2003. However, fuel bill hikes have also caused lots of trouble since each cargo trip need 360 liters of diesel fuel (5,000 baht/trip if diesel is at 14 baht/liter).
Now, the cabinet has approved the plan to buy 7 diesel locos (700 million baht) and 112 passenger bogies from Indonesia (now Indonesia can produce both locos [licensed from GE and Hitachi] and passenger bogies) by bartering with rice. The 20 renovated aircon passenger bogies from JR West also boosts revenue through the new aircon fees.
SRT is going to revise leasing contracts to add more revenue from leasing along Ratchadaphisek Road. SRT is also going to hire the private sector to collect the parking fees at Chatuchak Park with a contract to pay minimum revenue sharing. If the parking revenue is lower than the minimum level, the company has to pay a fine to cover the missing revenue. The private parking collectors will minimize mafia harassment at the parking lot.
Commentary by Wisarut: SRT officers complained that the CK5 Diesel Hydraulic shunter as well as TPI cement cargo trains imported from Meishan Loco factory (mainland China) have very shoddy quality compared to European versions. They usually turnover or break down during transportation.
Therefore, the proposed plan to import 30 Diesel-Electric Locos (CKD7F ) from China (the same type used in Vietnam) is not a good deal at all. Even the proposed NGV locos import from Russia may not suitable for Thai weather.
Thus the 7 diesel electric locos and 112 aircon passenger cars from Indonesia are a good deal.
Railroad construction in Laos - route to China and
Vietnam under serious consideration - translated
and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager
Online - June 20, 2004
The Lao government is finding the contractor to handle the historical railway line from the Friendship Bridge to Ban Dong Phosee (AKA Nongkhai - Tha Nalaeng in Thai with a total distance of 3.5 km) by using 200 million baht friendship aid and loans from Thai EXIM Bank (139 million baht for a cheap loan with a 30-year payment period and about 60 million baht in aid).
The Korean Consultant (MRTC) is working on a feasibility study for a 2nd rail link from downtown Viangchan to Danang via Tha Khaek (Khammuan province). This will support the transportation from Malawmaeng sea port to Danang deep sea port.
The 3rd rail line will link with Mainland Chinese Railway System which requires mixed gauge track (meter/standard gauge).
The discussion with the Thai Custom Office about customs procedures to create free land transportation is nearly done and ready for negotiation in early July in Viangchan. This is after both sides agreed to pursue free land transportation with a preliminary agreement on March 1.
High Speed Train! 100-billion baht
BKK-Khorat train close to reality - translated
and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager
Daily, June 21, 2004.
SRT is going to speed up the BKK-Khorat High Speed Rail Project (BKK (Makkasan) - Suvannabhum - New City at Banna - Khorat). The TOR is done and pay 37 million baht for the consultant to handle the feasibility study. The study will be done in 1 year and ready to submit the cabinet. There will be private joint venture since the price tag is 100 billion baht.
The TOR will consists of
1. Route studies
2. Studies on relating engineers
3. Environmental assessment along with the route choices
4. Investment assessment, and the suitable ticket prices
5. Social and Economic benefits and further suggestion
There will be two preliminary options for the route form Bangkok (Makkasan) to Khorat which will not go along the existing SRT rail routes - using the shortest routes which require in tunneling.
1. Makkasan - NBIA - Nongchok - Banna - Pakchong - Nakhon Ratchasima (233 km)
2. Makkasan - NBIA - Chachoengsao - New City at Banna - Pakchong - Nakhon Ratchasima (247 km)
The highest speed will be 300 km/hr while the average speed will be 250 km/hr, to reach Khorat in 1 hours--fast and compete with airlines, intercity buses or so. The public sector will invest in the infrastructure while the private sector invest on services and rolling stocks.
The concession is another issue since it is going to be subject to the Joint Venture Act of 1992.
After the preliminary studies are done in the next 4 months, Korat Provincial Hall will submit the plan to the cabinet to get 100 million baht for surveying the areas before coming up with the final report to be submit to the cabinet next year.
The construction of this system will be done in 4 years with 5 main stations at the following places:
4. Pakchong - the place where Nakhon Ratchasima City Hall will set up Muang Phoom Isan (New City at Pakchong) as the center for history of Isan as well as trade center and commercial transports for 19 Isan provinces which require a hundred million baht of investment. Packchong is the gate to Khao Yai National Park.
5. Nakhon Ratchasima
Commentary by Wisarut: Better clear with Ministry of Natural Resource and Environment as well as the Traffic Policy office which is going to come up with an electrified railway from Phyathai to Suvannabhum. This requires a new and gigantic Makkasan station to handle the Airport Link and Airport Express with the option to go to Nakhon Ratchasima.
Trucking interests sabotage the
rails - translated and summarized by Wisarut
Bholsithi from Matichon Daily, June 12, 2004
Even though the railway from Bangkok to Laem Chabang is constructed to cut down the usage of trucks, corruption and poor management at SRT has boosted the cost for transporting by rail in such a way that few companies use railways to transport their products to Laem Chabang or carry the raw materials from Laem Chabang to feed their factories.
Furthermore, the trains from Bangkok to Pattaya are very few and only run on the weekdays even though the trains are supposed to support the tourism in the same way as the trains to Hua Hin and Suan Son Padiphat Beach.
Even worse, truck companies (such as Sor. Thianthong--the company owned by the Thiangthong family) have lobbied the government and paid billions baht to both the Government and the opposition. Also common bribery is paid to the police so that the rail transport can never compete against their truck companies.
Even the government measures to cut down energy bills have shown both hypocrisy and insincerity. They have not applied the energy saving measures (e.g the cut to opening hours) of department and discount stores even though everybody knows very well that department stores and the discount stores are twin transportation magnets. The replacement of the government will not help this since the department and discount stores have pay billions in bribery so that any government will not cut working hours to save energy.
The increasing sales of automobiles have pleased the minister whose business is related to automobiles, but it increases energy bills.
Fuel hike pushing Laem Chabang double
tracking - translated and summarized by Wisarut
Bholsithi from Thaipost, June 10, 2004
The budget for double tracking of the Laem Chabang Section (Chachoengsao - Sri Racha - Laem Chabang) with a total distance of 78 km and a price tag of 5.235 billion baht has been approved thanks to the pressure from high fuel prices. This is after waiting for 8 years after getting cabinet approval in 1996. This double tracking will be done in 3 years.
The project has been delayed since the Environment Committee rejected the EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) done by SRT and consultants. SRT has to cooperate with MOF and Budget Bureau to deal with EIA matters.
Furthermore, the expressway from Ram Indra - Eastern Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring Road via Or Nguen (9.5 km - 13.708 billion baht) has been approved. 7.011 billion baht for land expropriation and the other 6.697 billion baht for construction. This will be shouldered by the government 58%. However the NESDB and Budget Bureau have opposed the plan to subsidize expressway fees for this section. Therefore the Expressway Authority has to come up with a better scheme to fund this necessary project.
Commentary by Wisarut: It actually takes 10 years to implement the Chachoengsao - Sattahip Line with a branch to Laem Chabang even though it is supposed to be done in 5 years. Another 10 years for finishing the double tracking of the Bangkok suburban lines despite the plan to be done in 5 years. Even worse, the section from Bangsue to Bang Bumru is not up to the Specifications. Therefore, SRT cannot run the inbound to Bangsue and outbound to Nakhon Pathom at the same time.
Rama 6 Bridge is not strong enough to handle very dense traffic. Inbound and outbound cannot use Rama 6 Bridge at the same time despite of double tracking of the bridge.
Ambitious plan for high-speed rail
connecting Ayutthaya-Paed Riew-Nakhon Pathom-Samut Prakarn - translated
and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Matichon, May 30, 2004
Khumroblux Suratsawade made a special speech at "Real Estate Lifestyle: Getting the Bangkokians' heart" held at Chaophraya Park hotel on May 29. He said "We spend 20% of GDP for transportation--a very high cost compared with 10% of GDP in developed countries. High speed rail to decongest Bangkok and vicinity is a must especially the route to Samut Prakarn, Ayutthya, Chachoengsao and Nakhon Pathom."
More news that came of of the event: There will be three new transportation centers at Bangsue, Makkasan and Taksin. The design by Traffic Policy Office for the Red line commuter will be done in six months. There are also expressways every 25 sq-km outside Kanchanaphisek Outer Ring road. Toll for those drivers who want to enter the CBD area will be applied.
There will be 2 parts for funding the projects--from profitable section and from the public services--through fuel taxes. Local authorities (BMA, Provincial Hall, City Hall) will also fund these projects as well.
Transportation wins US$70M order from Thailand state railway -
Canadian Press, May 10, 2004
Bombardier Transportation has won a $70-million US order from Thailand's state railway to supply and install a computer-based communication system on four new commuter rail routes in the Bangkok region...
Strangely enough this was announced over a month ago in the Thai-language press: Bombadier wins SRT signal and telecommunication system contract for double track lines at 2.799 billion baht - Matichon Daily, March 29, 200
Nationwide double tracking - Long way
to get started - translated and summarized by
Wisarut Bholsithi from Than Setthakij, May 13 - 15, 2004
The 2,429km nationwide double tracking for the main trunk lines will be allocated in the following form:
|1) Northern Lines
1.1) Lopburi - Sila At [Uttaradit] - 355 km
1.2) Sila At - Chiangmai - 212 km
2) Northeastern Lines
2.1) Map Krabao - Nakhon Ratchasima - 130 km
2.2) Nakhn Ratchasima - Ubon Ratchathanee - 310 km
2.3) Thanon Chira - Nong Khai - 355 km
|3) Southern Lines
3.1) Nakhon Pathom - Hua Hin - 165 km
3.2) Hua Hin - Surat Thanee - 422 km
3.3) Surat Thani - Hatyai - 294 km
4) Eastern Lines
4.1) Kaengkhoi - Klong Sip Kao - Chachoengsao - 108 km
4.2) Chachoengsao - Sri Racha - 67 km
4.3) Sri Racha - Laem Chabang Port - 9 km
1) Laying the new track along with the rehabilitation for the existing tracks to allow a maximum speed of 120 km/hr
2) Laying the new track along with the rehabilitation for the existing tracks to allow a maximum speed of 160 km/hr
3) Laying the new high-speed rail track (standard gauge) for some sections while the rest will be meter gauge double tracks
However, the following routes will be a high-speed rail system:
1) Bangkok - Chiang Mai with route modifications to increase the curve radius to 1500-2000 m -> either at Uttaradit - Chiang Mai or Lampang - Chiang Mai
2) Bangkok - Nakhon Ratchasima with route modification form Kaeng Khoi to Pakchong
3) Bangkok - Surat Thani - the rest will be meter gauge double tracks.
4) Kaengkhoi - Klong Sip Kao - Chachoengsao -> the space constraints from Hua Mark to Chacheongsao and the track to ICD has prevented SRT from ripping the double track in meter gauge to create standard gauge double track.
The estimation show that (in Billion Baht)
They also said SRT needs to acquire more land to come up with the high speed rail tracks. The level crossings must be eliminated or largely reduced. This means a new bridge in every 3 km. The system would be electrified in the way as BTSC Skytrain.
Commentary by Wisarut: 1) The northern line with high-speed rail will please Premier Thaksin.
2) The northeastern line with double tracking is to please Khorat people even though the high cost to modify the steep track from Map Krabao to Nakhon Ratchasima is a must.
3) The Traffic Policy Office seems never to be aware of the gauge braking problem. Even though the new mixed gauge track some the gauge braking problems, it creates another problem--the slower speed of the high speed rail system since they did not use a dedicated system. The half-baked Acela and Akita line of Shinkansen should give the Traffic Policy Office an example of a very hard lesson for this type of problem.
4) If SRT wants to run an electrified railway, 25 KV Ac is a good choice for them--not 750 V DC.
5) In my opinion the first choice is the optimal deal--at least the gauge braking problem is eliminated.
Latest on the high-speed rail to
Khorat - translated and summarized by Wisarut
Bholsithi from Manager Daily, April 23, 2004
Governor Sunthorn Riawlueng is pushing forward the new multibillion baht High Speed Rail linking Bangkok with Khorat and Khorat Inland Container Depot (ICD) with the rail link at Soong Noen district of Khorat in addition to the 3 billion baht Isan waterworks solution during Premier Thaksin's Isan tour.
The High Speed Rail from Bangkok to Khorat is a must due to the perennial fatal road accidents in Khorat during Songkran and New Year. Khorat has 24 hour intercity buses to Bangkok since it is the gateway to Isan. This High speed rail will shorten travel time from 3-4 hours by intercity bus to 1-1.5 hours by high speed rail system and boost more tourists to Isan. The initial capital for this system will be 10 billion baht with more to follow.
The new ICD at Soong Noen district as well as Khon Kaen will enable the factories in Isan area to shop their products to Klong Toei Port and Laem Chabang Deep Sea Port with lower costs and cut down transportation by dangerous trucks.
Governor Sunthorn also shows organic Jasmine rice from Phimai Co-op rice mills and 5-star OTOP products along with Khorat Noodle.
Commentary by Wisarut: To support the new ICD at Soong Noen and Khon Kaen, the following sections of railway must become double track with rehabilitation by using 100 Lb/yard (aka 50 kg/m) welded steel rails and the new modern signal installation to replace good old semaphores.
1) Kaengkhoi - Lum Naria - Pasak Jolasit dam - Bua Yai - Khon Kaen
2) Map Krabao - Pakchong - Soong Noen - Nakhon Ratchasima - Thanonchira
3) Laem Chabang - Si Racha - Chachonegsao - Klong Sip Kao - Kaeng Khoi [speed up this double tracking project]
However, the workers must pay respect to the Lord of Pha Sadej, the spirit that protects Dong Phaya Yen. Dong Phaya Yen is the mountain range and forest that caused difficulties in travel between Nakhon Ratchasima and Saraburi in the past until King Chualalongkorn and worker of Nakhon Ratchasima set up a shrine to keep the sprits calm and smooth the construction of Nakhon Ratchasima Railway and finish the line in 1900 at Pha Sedej Station.
The estimated cost for this new high speed rail system will be about 50 billion baht and it will be 100 billion baht if the new rail system from Bangsue to Rayong has been pushed forward as well.
Therefore, the new company to handle the high speed rail system is a must. However, the settlement with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment has to be done first since the route will definitely go through Kao Yai National Park.
No latest news on the Prachuab Khirikhan high-speed
train - April 27, 2004
Wisarut reports: The proposed high speed rail to Prachuab Khirikhan seems to be died down due to heavy opposition from local people since Toed Damri could not answer the public well enough on various concerns.
Earlier: Ko Lak Chamber of Commerce opposing the high speed rail system - Matichon Daily, April 2, 2004 & Thai News Agency, April 1, 2004
Earlier: Details of the high-speed train and cable car projects for Prachuab Khirikhan - Manager Daily, March 21, 2004 & Matichon Daily, March 23, 2004
Earlier: High-speed train, cable car project for Prachuab Khirikhan - Matichon, March 29, 2004
Earlier: Companies explaining the High-speed train to Prachuab Khirikhan - Matichon Daily, March 31, 2004
Bombadier wins SRT signal and telecommunication
system contract for double track lines at 2.799 billion baht -
translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Matichon Daily,
March 29, 2004
SRT said SRT and Bombadier Co.Ltd are going to sign the contract for signal and telecommunication system installation for the double track lines at a price of 2.799 billion baht. This is lower than the mean price of 3.3772 billion baht and it will be completed in two years. With the new signal and telecommunication system, the double track lines will be fully functional.
The installation will be at the following routes:
1) Ban Phachi - Lopburi (43 km)
2) Ban Phachi - Map Krabao (44 km)
3) Talingchan - Nakhon Pathom (42 km) - total 2.02321 billion baht compared to the mean price of 2.48633 billion baht
4) Hua Mark - Chachoengsao (45 km) - 0.77613 billion baht compared to the mean price of 0.89098 billion baht
The signal will be an electro-mechanic signal controllable by remote computer system and traffic light with a relative token system and remote control system from the central station.
For the nationwide double tracking with the budget of 500 billion baht, the Traffic Policy Office is going to study which form of investment is the most optimal plan--nationwide double tracking, double tracking with electrification (in the same way KTMB has done to the KL Kommuter system as well as the route from Rawang to Ipoh), and the routes which deserve high speed rail systems with standard gauge tracks.
Commentary by Wisarut: The government better lower the cost of the system implementation by encouraging foreign investors to make a series of joint ventures such as:
1) Steel mills which could produce high quality steel for 50 km/m and UIC60 tracks
2) Traffic lights and signals for both automobile traffic and railway traffic
3) The local assembly which could handle the diesel-electric and electric locomotives as well as DMUs and EMUs without having to wait for new spear parts. Many DMUs and locomotives are still waiting for the maintenance and repair after being hit by vehicles, other trains, or being burnt.
4) The new maintanance center to handle rolling stock made from both steel and aluminum (aluminum rolling stock [such as British Sprinter DMUs] are much harder to weld together than the steel version [Korean Sprinter DMUs]) to replace the good old SRT Maintenance Center at Makkasan.
Opinions on the PTT Energy Complex
- translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from
Siamturakij, March 21-28, 2004
Minister Suriya said he has not received the details on the project yet. Nevertheless, if the project is worthy to invest and boost revenue, it will be very good for SRT.
Most of SRT workers in that area acknowledge that there will be a big project in that area, but those workers ask the SRT Board of Director to find the temporary shelters for them.
SRT workers also ask the Board to move the Railway Police HQ from Nopphawong Bridge (near Hua Lamphong) to be within the PTT Energy Complex since those police have complained that the Railway Police HQ at Hua Lamphong is too congested and this new HQ will enable railway police from Donmuang, Laksi and Ladkrabang to reach HQ in a shorter time.
Even the families of Railway Police have asked for temporary shelters. Also 500 food hawkers who are families of Railway Police also beg SRT for the space to set up the new food stalls for PTT employees to replace the old ones are 10 years old. Otherwise, their children will go hungry.
Those hawkers said they can never hope to compete in bidding for the commercial areas after the PTT Energy Complex becomes a reality. New food stalls outside the new condominium and apartments are necessary since there will be very narrow space to set up stalls in the apartments and condominiums.
Some merchants who complain about this project are not locals but come other places.
Motorcycle taxis say if the energy complex becomes a reality, they will be out of business since there will be not longer a market for them.
PTT employees said the new PTT Energy complex is very good plan for them since the old office is too tight and narrow. Every time PTT has set up a festival, traffic around the PTT Office is chaotic due to the inadequate parking areas. However, they feel very sympathy to those hawkers who will lose their working space.
Trade and double-tracking -
translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Transportation
Journal, March 15-21, 2004
The Traffic Policy Office has a policy on Multimodal Transportation. One example is for the policy on SRT. SRT has a duty to handle transportation of containers and cargo as well as raw materials (oil, gas cement, gravel, sand or so).
Therefore, the nationwide double tracking of 2000 km with the price tag of 400 billion baht is a worthy investment since one set of railway cars could carry 30 containers while 1 truck could carry only one container. SRT is working hard to speed up the cargo rails to prevent the late arrivals to the port.
If SRT is to construct and run the new track in standard gauge for High Speed Rail, the budget for the same 2000 km truck lines will balloon up to 800 billion baht.
So far, no cargo line systems have use standard gauge (except in the countries which used the standard gauge or broad gauge as the main type of railways).
The issue on gauge breaking should be handled by Vietnam which has meter gauge for national lines, standard gauge for the line from Haiphong Port, and mixed gauged (1.000m/1.435m) for the line connecting with the China Railway system.
To support trade with China, Denchai-Chiangrai-Chiang Saen (with a branch line to Chiang Khong) must become a reality since there is an international port at Chiang Saen and Chiang Khong. After that, the extension across Mekhong to Khunming via Luang Namtha will be under consideration.
To help Burma to get on its feet, the rail link from Namtok to Tavoy via Bong Tee Checkpoint (100 km) is a must. This will reinvigorate Tavoy Port through Thai exports to India, Europe, Middle East, and Africa via Tavoy Port and allow Thai tourists to see pristine beaches and coral islands around the Mergui-Tavoy coast with convenience.This would also speed up delivery of oil from Middle East and fishery products from the Andaman Sea.
To support Laem Chabang Deep Sea Port, the section from Chachongsao to Laem Chabang deep sea port must become double track. This double track line will triple or even quadruple the number of trips to/from Laem Chabang within a few years after becoming a reality.
Commentary by Wisarut: This nationwide double tracking is a logical investment indeed. However, the steel rails used by cargo trains must use 100 lb/yard rail with concrete sleepers to ensure that the steel rail will not be cracked due to overloading.
To further support Laem Chabang the following projects must be followed:
1) Triangle tracks in the same way as Chitladda Triangle at Ban Phachee Junction, Kaeng Khoi Junction, Klong Sip Kao Junction, and Chachongsao Junction are one of the critical elements to speed up cargo lines since the cargo lines are usually slow due to the heavy loads they are carrying.
2) Double tracking of Kaengkhoi-Klong Sip Kao-Chachongsao will also speed up the cargo lines to the Isan region while it allows adequate time to run commuter services to serve those students from Sri Nakharintharawiroj University [Ongkharak Campus], cadets from Chulachomklao Royal Military Academy, and precadet students from Cadet Preparing School, and even farmers around Ongkharak and Wiharn Daeng to export their products to Laem Chabang Port.
3) North-South link from Suphanburi to Lopburi to help Army to move the troops and roll heavy tanks, antiaircraft guns and missiles, howitzers from Lopburi to the South if the insurgency turn worse.
New lines to Chaingsaen and Tavoy are a very good idea since the Burmese Railway has been extended from Ye to Tavoy with very controversial means. However, the line across the Merkhong to Tha Nalaeng must be done first. After that, inject more funds to complete the first section of Lao Railway from Tha Nalaeng to Viangchan and then help to rebuild the track from Aranyaprathet to Poipet and then the line to Si Sophon. After that, the line to Burma should be constructed after waiting for more than 70 years.
SRT pushing forward the 5.235 billion baht approved
double tracking - translated and summarized by
Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Daily, March 8, 2004
SRT is pushing forward the double tracking of Chachongsao - Sri Racha - Laem Chabang line with a total distance of 72 km and price tag of 5.235 billion baht. This will be started from 2004 and be done in 2007. It wil boost more revenue by 435 million baht/year.
There are 5 sections to be done:
1. 5 million baht for Environmental Assessment from Sri Racha - Laem Chabang
2. 7 million baht for the bidding process
4. Signal Installation -> with total cost for construction and installation of 4.982 billion baht
5. Controls on the construction and installation process - 241 milion baht
The double racking will save on road reconsturction cost, cut down accidents and energy bills as well as facilitate the movement of products to and fromo Laem Chabang.
After the double tracking is done, SRT will be able to carry more containers from the currently 7200 bogeys/year (432,000 TEU) in 2004 to 22,500 bogeys (1,350,000 TEU) a year in 2007. The revenue from this section after double tracking will be 780 million baht in 2007 and 1.2 billion baht in 2012, compared with 285 million baht revenue in 2003 and expected revenue of 345 million baht in 2004.
Note: The delay on the double track implementation has generated a furious response from Thai netters.
Multimillion baht new PTT energy complex
- 2000 families of SRT workers to be moved - translated
and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Siamturakij, March 7-13,
To clear up the 50 billion baht of debt, SRT has decided to turn 200 rai of SRT land to create the a 30-rai of Ministry of Energy complex. The other 170 rai will be a residential area for sale and rent. However, 2000 families of SRT worker must be evicted.
This energy complex will have a park and ride facility to hold 1000 cars. This will allow PTT and the Ministry of Energy to expand to meet surging demand and integrate all agencies within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Energy together. The oil business firms could set up their Thai offices in the complex. The completed section (Energy Complex and residential area) will require tens of millions of baht to complete.
The 1160 families of SRT workers who live in the old and dilapidated SRT wooden houses (built just before WWII in 1940-41) and the other 985 families of SRT workers who live in the run-down SRT apartments were built during the 1960s-1970s have to be evicted and moved to Chiang Rak, Ban Phachee and Lopburi. This will create a burden on 6000 SRT workers and their families who will have to rely on SRT commuters to be able to reach Bangsue Maintenance Center, Phaholyothin Warehouse as well as Hor Wang Highschool and Samsen Highschool. Those who want to stay at the same place will need to pay a very high rent to PTT, because PTT will set up new condominium and residential areas.
Commentary by Wisarut: PTT PCL is another major creditor to SRT since it is the main supplier of diesel and lubrication products. Therefore the energy complex is a way to write off the oil-lubrication debt SRT owes to PTT PCL as well as a way to get uninterrupted fuel supplies since PTT is likely to pay SRT rent as oil-lubrication credits at bargain prices (cheaper than the market prices) and a little cash. PTT PCL is also a main supplier of oil and lubrication to the Armed Forces and Bureaucrat offices due to their duty as the National Oil Supplier--even after privatization.
Electric railway to Nakhon Pathom -
translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Bangkok Biznew,
March 9, 2004
After Premier Thaksin asked the Traffic Policy Office to come up with an electrified railway for intercity service, the Traffic Policy Office has decided to put this project into the special priority service. The double tracks from Bangsue to Nakhon Pathum must be improved in such a way to allow 160 km/hr maximum speed from Nakhon Pathom to Bang Sue (50 km).
The ticket price will be 10 baht+ (1 baht/km x distance)--the same as the commuter rate. This is cheaper than intercity buses and will turn Nakhon Pathum into another satellite city and cutting congestion in Bangkok.
Traffic Policy Office pushing high
speed rail - translated and summarized by Wisarut
Bholsithi from Than Setthakij, February 12-14, 2004
Traffic Policy Office is pushing a high speed rail of 160 km/hr with four connecting station -> Taksin Center [Talad Ploo?], Bangsue, Makkasan, and Talingchan with a station 10 times larger than Hua Lamphong. The Blue Ring Line will also connect the system together. There would be no cars allowed to enter into the Ratchadaphisek Ring without special licenses and permission. This rail also could go to NBIA and extend further to reach the Thai-Cambodian border at Aranyaprathet and perhaps reach Phnom Penn in 12 hours from Makkasan.
The government will allow private investment on the rolling stock and systems while SRT would invest in the rails. SRT also has to reorganize to separate the revenue making section out of the infrastructure so as to be a good regional rail hub. The 2400-km nationwide double track is also a part of the plan. Low cost airline has the maximum speed of 800 km/hr while the commuter rail in urban area has the maximum speed of 80 km/hr. A faster rail system will boost the value of Makkasan and Bangsue stations to fund more rail projects.
for rail link goes to SRT board - Bangkok Post,
February 8, 2004
Preliminary plans on a rail link between central Bangkok and Suvarnabhumi Airport will be forwarded to the State Railway of Thailand board for approval this month. A preliminary study, conducted by Pacific Consultants International, found the project would require a budget of 29 billion baht, three billion baht more than previously estimated. The link would comprise 28 kilometres of track, from Makkasan to the airport. The SRT plans to offer non-stop express trains, with journey times of 14 minutes, and a slower link stopping at six stations of 28 minutes.
Nationwide double tracking expected
to start by the end of 2006 - Than Setthakij,
February 1-4 2004
SRT is drafting TOR to deal with nationwide double tracking with a price tag of 410 billion baht. The plan will be submitted to the cabinet on February 9. SRT is expecting to start nationwide double tracking by the end of 2006.
The budget will be as follows:
Northern Line - 661.47 km (Ayutthaya - Chiang Mai) - 127.602 billion baht which consists of
Construction Cost - 115.833 billion baht
Consultant Cost - 2.317 billion baht
Reserve 9.052 - billion baht
Southern Line - 880.46 km (Nakhon Pathom - Hat Yai) - 184.727 billion baht which consists of
Construction Cost - 138.010 billion baht
Consultant Cost - 2.700 billion baht
Reserve 11.017 - billion baht
Northeastern Line - 718.88 km - (Bua Yai - Nongkhai -> 278.08 km and Map Krabao - Khorat - Ubon 440.8 km) - 126.889 billion baht which consists of
Construction Cost - 115.186 billion baht
Consultant Cost - 2.304 billion baht
Reserve 9.399 - billion baht
Eastern - 82.84 km (Kaeng Khoi - Klong Sip Kao) - 11.113 billion baht which consists of
Construction Cost - 10.088 billion baht
Consultant Cost - 0.202 billion baht
Reserve 0.823 - billion baht
Total - 2343.65 km with budget of 414.3 billion baht
For existing double tracks (the commuter lines), there will be interchanges to BTSC Skytrain and BMCL Subway to facilitate movement.
The consultant for this double track project will be local Thai consultants. If the government approves the project, the construction of new double tracks will be started by the end of 2006 and done by the end of 2010.
Commentary by Wisarut: Expect delays even if project is approved.
It is too bad the section from Chacheongsao - Sattahip Naval Base, Chachoengsao - Klong Sip Kao has not been approved to become double track lines. It seems to me that Kaeng Koi - Klong Sip kao has been approved to become double track lines to feed both the New City as well as cargo tracks which is another money making business in addition to tourist lines.
New tunnels are needed for both Northern and Southern lines--especially the Khun Tan tunnel.
The section from Map Krabao to Khorat should have been improved to cut the grading from the current 26 in 1000 (26 m height per 1 km track) to allow faster trains.
Hope that new lines will come after finishing the nationwide double tracking because local people as well as people from other regions ask the government to fulfill wish-list lines (Denchai - Chiang Rai - Chiang Khong, Surat Thani - Tha Nun - Phuket, Lang Suan - Ranong, Nong Khai - Wiangchan, etc.)
Calls to electrify the double track
from Hua Lamphong to Ban Phachi - translated
and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Matichon, February 1,
The governor of Ayutthya is asking SRT to electrify the double tracks from Hua Lamphong to Ban Phachi (89.95 km) to carry 200,000 workers as well as local people and the bulk of products from four industrial estates in Ayutthya (Bang Pa In Industrial Estate, Ban Wah Industrial Estate, Rotjana Industrial Estate and Saharat Nakhon Industrial Estate) to relieve the factories and local people from traffic jams.
Therefore, SRT should include this extension (Rangsit - Ayutthaya - Ban Phachi) in the 2nd phase of the red line commuter. This extension also help to pick up students from Bangkok University, Thammasart University (Rangsit Campus) and AIT as well as workers in Nawanakhorn Industrial Estate and researchers in Science Park via regular feeder bus lines.
With demands like this, SRT should be restructured or even privatized to enable the enterprise to response to growing demands for commuter lines since the commuter may have to be extended further to Chachoengsao, Nakhon Pathom, Lopburi, and Kaeng Khoy to fulfill the proposal of Prince Purachat Jaiyakorn (the first Siamese RSR director).
Bidding epic to end today - Bangkok Post, January 26, 2004
The board of the State Railway of Thailand is expected to select a contractor to develop a 17.64-rai block of railway land in Chatuchak today. SRT governor Chitsanti Dhanasobhon said the board is likely to pick one of three contenders for the 30-year contract to develop and operate a plaza on the land which is now a dirt parking lot on Kamphaeng Phet 2 road...
SRT going to build condominiums around Vibhavadee - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Manager Weekly, January 13, 2004
There is 2600 rai of SRT vacant land behind PTT PCL -> km 11 SRT community. To add more revenue, SRT has decided to build condos with a 30 year concession - able to carry 240 families. It will have 12 floors with 20 rooms on each floor. These condos are for low income people as well as SRT workers to have a residential place on their own instead of paying rent for an apartment.
Education levels of SRT employees -
January 20, 2004
Wisarut reports: SRT needs to overhaul human resource since only 10% of SRT officers have a Bachelor's degree [4-year college]. Most of the are vocational students [K-12 or 2-Year college] who graduated from Railway Vocational School or those who have only a primary school degree [K-6 or K-9]. Modernization requires a major overhaul of workers to handle state-of-the-art machinery. The money-maker state enterprises such as EGAT have many workers with BS, MS, or even Ph.Ds.
All about traveling by train in Thailand - October 23, 2003