The Bangkok Subway News 2004-2005


Above: Detail of a subway station entrance

Right: Subway car arriving in Thailand on a Antonov AN124-10 in October, 2003.

(Photo: The Freight Co. Ltd.)


Left: Subway excavation machine before being lowered into the site in May, 1999.

Below: Subway construction workers sitting in front of a fresh air tube in Morchit Station in March 2001.

Notable subway articles on

* Phet & Umporn, you are REAL heroes! Subway construction workers make 175 baht (about USD $4) a day
* Ride the subway with - June, 2004
* Tour of the Morchit Station construction - March, 2001
* When did the subway cars arrive?
* Future subway expansion
Bangkok Subway station locations


Subway first anniversary insert - July 11, 2005
There was some recognition of the subway's first anniversary after all. The flyer (right) was included in the Post on July 3, 2005.


Extended hand straps on the subway - September 5, 2006
The handstraps on the subway have been extended the length of the trains--instead of stopping in front of the subway doors.

(Photo: Withawat)

Subway tunnel segments - March 21, 2005
Withawat notes the field of subway tunnel panels and writes: Here is a picture taken along Rama IX Road near Ramkamheang intersection. The site was set up for like this for more than a year...
Any idea why so many extra segments are left? Was there this much leftover money from the previous project to create all this extra material?

Map of the new subway & mass transit in Bangkok

Subway crash - 9:30am, January 17, 2005

7:14pm, July 3, 2004 - The subway is OPEN!

Ride the subway with
Free subway ride tickets & First ride on the subway

Bangkok Subway symbols
Subway souvenirs & ephemera
Future subway expansion
Bangkok Subway route status in 1999

Subway Construction Photos
Early construction photos - May, 1999-December, 2000
Children's Day in the tunnels - January 13, 2001
Morchit Subway Station construction - March 14, 2001
Restoring the road surface - May-August, 2001
Various - Subway Station model, Bangkok Subway graphics, Subway Depot, Aerial Photos
Inside the Rama 9 Station - July 3, 2003
Delivery of the subway cars - October, 2003
First looks at the Phetchburi, Queen Sirikit Convention Center, & Hua Lampong subway stations - April 6, 2004

What happened to the subway depot development plans? - has the only English-language mention of the attempts to develop expropriated MRTA land for commercial use. It was extensively covered in the Thai-language press.
The 'How Come' subway deal

Bangkok Subway Latest News
About the TVMs
July 2004-present
June-July, 2004
June, 2004
April-June 2004
April 2004
March-April 2004
January-March 2004
November-December 2003
October 2001-October 2003
February-September 2001
March 2000-January 2001

Bangkok Subway FAQ

And the number one question we get at> Is it safe/practical to build a subway in flood-prone Bangkok?
All the entrances and shafts to the subway are built above the 200 year flood level for Bangkok (1.2-1.5 meter above ground level). If the water goes over the 200 year flood level, all openings have "stop block" doors that close to seal the openings. There are also water traps to keep water from going down into the stations.

What is it called? METRO (in English) / Rot Fai Fah Mahanakhon (in Thai).

Will there ever be a tunnel under the Chao Phrya River?
It will happen someday! It is already budgeted at 2 billion baht per kilometer. There are underwater tunnels in Hong Kong and San Francisco, so why not here?
Controversy from the Thai-language press: Subway unsafe? - June 17, 2004
What is the gauge? 1.435 meter-gauge (the same as for the BTS Skytrain) with a third rail for power transmission
What is the fare? 10 baht for July 3-August 12. After that 14-36 baht with a 15% discount until the end of the year.
How often do the trains run? every 4-6 minutes and every 2-4 minutes during rush hour. Trains run everyday from 06:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
How fast do they go? 35 km/hr
How much did it cost? 108.148 billion baht (about US$ 2.75 billion) The ratio of investment between public and private sectors is 80:20. The public sector pays for construction and private sector pays for trains.
How much did the workers who worked on the construction site make? 175 baht (about USD$ 4) a day - from Manager Sunday, March 10, 2002
What is the passenger capacity? More than 40,000 passengers per hour per direction
How many passengers is the system expected to carry a day?
Initial estimates: Year 2002-3: 404,880 passengers/day
Year 2010: 631,837 passengers/day
Year 2020: 836,268 passengers/day
Update: December, 2000 -  OCMLT estimates daily passengers would be about 300,000 passengers a day instead of 400,000 (based on the experience of the Bangkok Skytrain).
Update: May, 2001 - Prachachart Thurakij reports on May 24-27, 2001 that the estimated number of daily passengers will be 270,000-280,000.
Update: October 17, 2001 - "BMCL currently estimates a daily ridership of 237,000 for the subway for the first year of operations, down from original projections of 430,000."

Is there an official Bangkok Subway webpage? Yes. It is located at
What other subway can the design of the Bangkok subway be compared with?
The Bangkok subway is similar to the one in Singapore with doors along the platform to save on air-conditioning, prevent accidents and suicides, and stop hazardous chemicals from easily circulating through the system in the event of a terrorist attack.

What are the stations like? The stations are 20 meters deep, about 18-25 meters wide and 150-200 meters long, depending upon location. The rails will be on either side of the platforms, except at some places that will require multilevel tunnels (e.g. Silom Station).
Most tunnels will run side by side, but under Rama 4 Road, which is covered by elevated roads and hemmed in by utilities, they will run one above the other.
First looks at the Phetchburi, Queen Sirikit Convention Center, and Hua Lampong subway stations - April 6, 2004
Peculiarities of the subway stations
- If you want to go to Lumpini Park, do not get off at Lumpini Station. Exit at Si Lom Station.
- If you want to go to Central Lat Phrao, do not get off at Lat Phrao Station. Exit at Phaholyothin Station.
- If you want to go to Chatuchak Weekend Market, do not get off at Chatuchak Station. Exit at Kamphaengphet Station.
- If you want to go to Thailand Cultural Center, you have to get a taxi from the station. Thailand Cultural Center is quite a distance from Thailand Cultural Center Station.

How will the Silom Subway Station connect to the Saladaeng Skytrain Station?
Will any of the stations have a special design?
Two stations were originally promised to have special designs:
         1. Hualampong Station will have a 'museum' detailing railroad mega projects in Thailand starting with the first railroad cars imported by Rama V. On opening day, some informational plagues had been installed detailing past mass transit in Thailand.
         2. Queen Sirikit Convention Center Station was to be 'completely designed with traditional Thai-style decor.' So far, this station does not have any special design though.

From Siam Business Weekly (AKA Siam Turakij) (Vol. 7, No. 334, May 6-12, 2001): So far, BMCL found that they can make a commercial development in ONLY 9 stations. The other 9 either have very little space left or MRTA will turn them into a museum.

The following stations will not have commercial development for the following reasons:
1) Hua Laphong (museum)
2) Silom (narrow space for interchange station)
3) Bon Kai (narrow space)
4) Queen Sirikit National Convention Center (Thai design inside)
5) Asok (narrow space for interchange station)
6) Rama IX (narrow space)
7) Lad Phrao (park and ride)
8) Mochit (narrow space for interchange station)
9) Kamphaengphet (narrow space and the weekend market)

Also: The eight subway stations with the most potential for development - Prachachart Thurakij, February 25 - 28, 2002

How many people have visited the construction site?
excerpted from the Bangkok Post, August 30, 2001
Work on the city subway has attracted 25,894 visitors since the project began in 1999....
Entry to the site is restricted to 50 people at a time for safety reasons, resulting in a waiting list of up to two months. Visitors include people from neighboring countries on study tours to develop similar systems in their own countries....'s tour of the Morchit Station Construction - March 14, 2001

When did the subway cars arrive?
Where to see the subway cars - January 19, 2004
Subway cars are often stored in the open at the MRTA Depot. They can be seen by taking Thiam Ruam Mit Road to where it merges into the road (unnamed?) that circles the subway depot.

What are the lines and when will they be completed?
         Blue - T
he Bangsue-Huay Kwang section of the MRTA Blue Line (this is the northern section) was going to open December 2002, then was pushed back to August 12, 2003, then late-2003, February 2004, and finally August2004. Then the opening date was brought forward to July 3, 2004.

Latest on subway extensions: MRTA planning for 91-km expansion of subway - Thairath, April 5, 2004 and Than Setthakij, April 4-7, 2004

See Bangkok Subway Routes & Stations for complete station lists.

Subway Status Report

Parties lay out rival subway plans - Bangkok Post, September 18, 2006
...Thai Rak Thai is carrying on with its electric train project. The Democrats have their own plan, called the ''Democrat Train.''
The BMCL is the operator of the existing 10-kilometre subway linking Hua Lampong railway station in central Bangkok and Bang Sue district.
Thai Rak Thai accused the Democrats of stealing its mass transit system idea, announced for the first time five years ago during the 2001 general election.
...Thai Rak Thai is pursuing its idea to build 10 routes of a 333- kilometre railway, on and under the ground, at a cost of 570 billion baht, at a flat fare rate of 15 baht a trip.
...According to the Democrat Train project, the party wants to build seven routes of a 139-kilometre railway at a cost of 265 billion baht...

Nod for subway - The Nation, June 7, 2006
...the dark red, light red and purple lines would go ahead, reasoning that the time-consuming project cannot wait for the formation of a new government...

MRT ready to develop subway's extended purple and blue routes - TNA, June 2, 2006
...The subway's extended purple route will start from the Bang Sue Station to Bang Yai area in Bangkok's suburban Nonthaburi Province, according to Ms. Anchalee.
The extended blue route will, on the other hand, start from the Hua Lampong Station to Ta Pra and Bangkae in the city's Thonburi side...

SRT subway line open to bidding soon - The Nation, May 31, 2006
The State Railway of Thailand will proceed with the construction of the two subway lines it is in charge of - the Dark Red and Light Red routes- after the government gave the agency the green light to go ahead with the projects using its own budget...

BMCL planning to raise the subway ticket prices on October 1 - Manager Daily, Thairath, Dailynews, August 23, 2005

One year anniversary for the subway - Suriya pushing the Purple Line ahead - translated and summarized from Manager, July 4, 2005
At the one year anniversary ridership is 180,000 passengers a day and steadily climbing. It is nearing 200,000 passengers a day by the end of 2005. Furthermore, Suriya is telling the press that he is going to call an e-auction for the construction of the Purple Line by the end of 2005.

The special discount will expire on July 30, 2005, but MRTA would ask for the extension since the regular rate would cut the daily number of passengers.
There is still more time to buy extra BMCL stocks. BMCL is filing an IPO at the SEC on July 5. The first 25% (2.6 billion stock at 1 baht par) to MRTA and the other 2.55 billion stocks IPO to general investors [1.55 billion stock for capital enhancement, the other 1 billion stock from Ch. Karnchang].
Note: This implication from MOTC shows that the government has a clear policy to push this purple line to be done as soon as possible at all costs...

Service disrupted for 15 mins by glitch - Bangkok Post, June 12, 2005
...The train that had encountered a problem was then towed away to Bang Sue station...

Plan for discount on subway fares/independent safety inspections for subway - translated and summarized from Prachachart Thurakij, May 25, 2005
BMCL has made a settlement on subway discounts offered on June 4, 2005. It will be a 20% discount for stored value cards (9-25 baht) and 30% discount for student cards. Those who pay for a single trip would have to pay 12-31 baht rate until September 2005.
During the three month discount experiments, BMCL got 30,000 more passengers a day.
During a trip for subway security in England, MOTC witnessed the contract signing between BMCL and Lloyd's Register Group for the independent subway safety inspection. This measure is to make independent inspection possible. BMCL has to pay 11 million baht a year to Lloyd's register group for this independent inspection contract.

Pressuring BMCL to offer subway discounts - translated and summarized from Prachachart Thurakij, May 25, 2005
Ministry Suriya is trying to pressure BMCL to offer new discounts--something lower than the 12-31 baht rate--despite the contract which allows BMCL to use the 14-36 baht rate, without paying any cash despite a 21 million baht bill. MRTA has decided to pay 21 million baht compensation through debt reductions (credit) instead.
BMCL said this is too much for BMCL to digest since the number of passengers has reached 170,000-180,000 passengers a day instead of the target of 250,000 passengers a day. Even the 15 baht flat rate may not help BMCL that much since MRTA and MOTC refuse to pay any single satang in cash to cover 80% of the loss. If BMCL has to comply with the discount policy, 20-25 baht/person would be a better deal.

Some subway fares to be cut - Bangkok Post, May 26, 2005
...Bangkok Metro Co Ltd (BMCL) had agreed to a 20-30% discount for passengers with pre-paid ticket cards, and 50% for children and those aged over 60 from June 5 to Sept 30, Mr Suriya said...

BMCL refuses to extend subway promotion fares - translated and summarized from Manager Daily, May 25, 2005
BMCL refuses to extend the promotional rates (10 baht for the first 3 stations and 15 baht for the rest). Nevertheless, BMCL agrees to offer discounts for those who are willing to pay the initial 300 baht for stored value tickets and guarantee that the maximum rate for who pay for a single trip token will never exceed 30 baht.
According to the 90-day experiments, BMCL and MRTA found that they got 230,000 passengers a day during the Money Expo Fair at QSNCC while they got only 40,000 passengers a day during Songkran Festival.
So far, MRTA has paid 18 million baht to BMCL for the compensation from loss during the promotion from 21 million baht BMCL had asked for.

Top subway fares to rise to 36 baht by July 4 - translated and summarized from Manager Daily, May 19, 2005
[Many had predicted that the lowered subway fares were a government ploy for votes during the last election and are not surprised that the rates are suddenly going back to normal...]
Minister Suriya has publicly admitted that he needs to raise the subway ticket prices from 10-15 baht back to 12-31 baht after June 4 since the negotiation with BMCL for nationalization is still stalled even though MRTA could purchase 25% of stocks at par (1 baht). Furthermore, MRTA is going to talk with BMCL about the new promotional prices to maximize the public benefit.
The MRTA governor said they are going to talk with BMCL about the ticket price issue during the trip to England and France (the trip about Subway security as well as the trip to Bombadier [England] and ALSTHOM) so as to maximize public benefit without the expense from ticket subsidies.
The 12-31 baht rate will be from June 4-July 3 2005 and the full-price (14-36 baht) will be effective on July 4, 2005.

Subway resumes service after encountering minor problem - The Nation, March 21, 2005
...The derailed subway train was later pulled to the Hua Lamphong Station for a technical check-up...

Commuters trapped in train again - Bangkok Post, March 21 , 2005
...Reports said the train, bound for Hua Lamphong, stopped suddenly as it entered the station.
All the lights went out and the automatic doors did not work.
Transport Minister Suriya Jungrung-reangkit said Siemens Thailand, which controls the train system, reported electrical sparks near Rama IX station and was looking into the cause...

Police ask prosecution to charge subway staff - Bangkok Post, March 1, 2005
Police yesterday asked the prosecution to charge two staff at the metro control centre and two drivers with carelessness causing injury and danger to others in the Jan 17 subway crash...
Huay Kwang police investigators, led by deputy station chief Pol Lt-Col Yingyos Inthaburan, presented senior prosecutor Niwit Prasitwiset with a 2,755-page report. They are seeking to arraign Kullachart Lao-asok, 33, the subway control centre head, Rangsan Sawasdeemongkol, 35, a centre staff member, Thawatchai Kanya, 26, the tow train driver, and Thanapol Nithichotiyanont, 32, the driver of the empty train...

Subway stuck again--this time from debris from a discarded pen - translated and summarized from Channel 11, February 20, 2005
The reason for the subway being out of order on Sunday, February 19: the debris from a leftover pen crushed by the subway wheels jamming the signal box and causing MRTA to temporarily stop the service at Chatuchak Station. This cut the number of passengers to 90,000 instead of the normal 110,000 Subway. Even though this is not the fault of Siemens, it will force Siemens to brainstorm with MRTA and BMCL so as to prevent incidents which cause the subway to stop running.

Siemens warned of consequences if subway continues to fail - TNA, February 21, 2005
The head of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), which oversees the Bangkok’s subway system, has warned Siemens Thailand, that persistent failures on the underground could affect the company’s future contract bids involving the expansion of the city’s mass transit system...

No light at end of tunnel for subway - The Nation, February 21, 2005
Subway train services were disrupted yesterday afternoon following a problem with the signal system, officials said. It was the fourth incident over the past month that has resulted in a service stoppage...

Couples tie the knot in Bangkok subway station - TNA, February 15, 2005
...Although the venue was being promoted under the slogan 'Ring the Marriage Bells - Valentine's 2005 with the Bangkok Subway', real bells were notably absent yesterday, as couples queued for the event organized by Bang Sue district in conjunction with the Bangkok Metro Co., Ltd. (BMCL), the operator of the Bangkok's subway system...

Subway passengers boosted by Chinese New Year festival - translated and summarized from Manager Daily, February 10, 2005
The number of Subway passengers was boosted by Chinese New Year Festival at Yaowaraj. There were 164,127 passengers a day on February 9 to dine and be entertained at Yaowaraj. The top five destinations are:
1) Hua Lamphong, 2) Sukhumvit, 3) Lad Phrao, 4) Phaholyothin, 5) Silom
BMCL will ask BMTA to run the feeder bus service from gate 4 of Hua Lamphong Station (the gate with escalators).
MRTA/BMCL will set up the Valentine Wedding of 2005 at Bang Sue station on February 14, 2005 from 8am to 4pm with the district officers from Bang Rak and other Bangkok districts with auspicious names ['Rak' means 'love' in Thai and is a popular place to sign wedding papers].

Astrological comments
- February 11, 2005
Wisarut reports: Thai Post has astrological comments on the Subway. They said that Ch. Karnchang better change the name of the subway company since the name seems to have bad elements which causes lots of trouble. The days of opening and reopening the Subway service were also very inauspicious days. Furthermore, they also ask BMCL owners to worship Phra Rahoo (the giant serpent-demon who create solar and lunar eclipses).

Subway door failure blamed on technical error - TNA, February 8, 2005
The operators of the Bangkok subway system experienced a problem this morning after the electric doors at Hua Lamphong station failed to operate properly.
Mr. Praphas Jongsa-nguan, governor of the Mass Rapid Transit System (MRTA), who stressed that the incident was a minor one which had not compromised passenger safety, blamed the failure on a temporary glitch in the door sensor system, possibly caused by dirt...

Subway resumes operation - TNA, February 5, 2005
Bangkok's subway system resumed its service this afternoon after a two-hour suspension due to a short of power supply.
The city's subway has resumed its operation since 2.00 p.m...
During the incident, a train was stuck between Hualampong railway station and Sam Yan, but all the passengers were evacuated safely...

Subway closed again - TNA, February 5, 2005
Bangkok's subway system is temporary out of service today due to a short of power supply.
The city's underground train service has been suspended since minutes before midday today when the subway system encoutered the problem, caused by an explosion of a main power transformer, according to local journalists...

Bulletin from ThaiRath

9:30am, January 17, 2005

The opening of the Bangkok Subway
March 14, 2001- November 15, 2004

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