Well, I'm glad to see at least Thailand is still going ahead with the double-tracking project, while Malaysia is just back-tracking. 0.5 x
Seriously, the state of railways in SEA is a crying shame. I still haven't gotten around to taking the train from Singapore to KL, because even the "express" trains take 9 hours (!) to cover 300-odd kilometers. Spoiled by life in Japan and Europe I'd personally still want real high-speed trains (Sing-KL in little over an hour!), but for starters I suppose double-tracking and electrifying is needed just to provide reliability and cargo capacity. And while I understand Malaysia's need to curb 6 years of constant deficits, the improvement will have to be done sooner or later...
Electrification - Waste of Money?
The impending massive investment in SRT is to be welcomed - although I seem to remember seeing this anounced many times in the past. But please could someone tell me why electrification will reduce journey times?
The chronically slow speed of SRT is nothing to do with the fact that they are diesel powered, but is presumably caused by track conditions, including curves and ride quality. Sure, some types of electric traction provide better accelleration than diesel, and this is useful on lines where there are frequent stops - hardly the case in Thailand.
There are real benefits in electrification, mainly improved reliability and improved environmental performance (less emissions, particularly if, for instance, hydroelectric power is available). But the vast majority of these benefits can be gained by investment in modern high powered diesel trains, such as the new diesel multiple units operating at 200kph every day to dozens of destinations in the UK.
There is a real risk that Thailand will seek to copy other countries - who all made their investment in electrification a generation ago - instead of looking for a more modern alternative suited to the needs of SRT. Doubtless foreign companies keen to sell their services will be on hand to encourage Thailand to electrify!
Well, Electrification is STILL necessary .... since it is cleaner than diesel ... and can be generated form power plants around the country or plugging with power lines from Laos ...
Hydroelectri powqer is ready available ....
Therefore, I would like to say -> Just DO it! We have waited fro electrification of the mainline since 1928 .... we waited too long after Paknam Railway was gone in 1960 and Mahachai section (Klong San - Wat Singh) was deelectrified in 1961 ...
Nationwide Double Tracking and BKK Mass Transit Interchanges
SRT and Traffic Policy Office Discussing about the Connection between Subway-Skytrain and SRT Railway as well as 482 billion Baht Nationwide Double Tracking.
To be Delivered to Premier Thaksin Next Week
Matichon - Feb 7, 2004
Traffic Policy Office and SRT Board of Directors are discussing about the plan for constructing interchanges betweet SRT commuter network and Skytrain-Subway system.
which will have the total 8 lines in the future. Traffic Policy Office will deliver this plan to Premier Thaksin next week. SRT Director said SRT is going to expand the terminals as well as the itnerchange stations to facilitate the passenger transfers and propose the 2nd phase nationwide double tracking, starting in 2005 with the total budget of 482 billion Baht.
Furthermore, SRT will have to come up with the commuter network which use Standard Gauge (1.4351 m)
rails from the currently meter gauge rails so as to allow
EMU and Electic locomotives with the maximum speed of
160 km/hr or more to run and pick up more passengers. SRT will have to come up with the investment plan with details
to be done next week so as to submit the plan to Premeir Thaksin by the end of next week.
SRT director said if SRT is to replace the meter gauge with Standard gauge for commuter networks, it will require SRT to make massive nationwide regauging and the contruction of new giant terminals such as Rangsit, Bangsue, and Makkasan
to enable SRT to connect with Sktytrian-Subway network. SRT hopes that the budget still within the nationwide double tracking of 400 billion Baht.
For the case of the 2nd phase nationwide double tracking to be started in 2005, it will have the total budget of 482.782 billion Baht which can be catagorized as follows:
1) Northern Line -> Lopburi - Chiang Mai 700 km ->
116.900 billion Baht
2) Southern Line -> Nakhon Pathom - Padang Besar ->
990 km - 165.330 billion Baht
3) Northeastern lines ->
3.1) Kaeng Khoi - Bua Yai - Nong Khai - 609 km - 88.510 billion Baht
3.2) Map Krabao - Nakhon Ratchasima - Ubon Ratchathanee -
441 km - 51.937 billlion Baht
4) Eastern lines ->
4.1) Chacheongsao - Aranyaprathet - 194 km 42.585 billion Baht
4.2) Laem Chabang - Kaeng Khoi - 189 km - 17.520 billion Baht
SRT will deliver the data about the nationwide double tracking to MOTC to be delivered to the cabinate to be approved
Note: Replace the commuter network with standard gauge may or may not working ... Probbaly, the best deal is to comign up with the nationwide double tracking first and then add the commuter lines in standard gauge .... Priobably SRT should set up the subsidiaries to handle the commuter networks
as well as the system double tracking and expansion.
Note 2: The dobel track route may have to go to the detour to avoid digging up the tunnel parallel with the old tunnels ...
Note 3: The steel rails for Standard gauge should be 60 kg/m (120 lb/yard) type while the meter gauge rails should be
50 kg/m (100 lb/yard) ... the leftover rails and wooden sleepers should be sold or donated Lao Railway Authority and Chemin
de Fur Cambodge (Cambodian Railway Authority) so they can expand their rail system ... the crumbling wooden sleepers
should be sold to power steam locomotives in Cambodia as
fuel wood as well since they are running out of wood to fuel
the steam locomotives.
Note 4: Double tracking to Padang besar is a good idea
indeed even though KTMB (Malaysian Railway
Authority) seems to put the electrification and double tracking
on the hold after reaching Ipoh instead of going on to
Padang Besar. However, the governemtn should also
increase the traffic to Sugai Kolok even though th government has to take a risk from terrorist attacks ... this traffic increment will help to cement the nation though.
Note 5: We should ask foreign investors to set up the local assembly for diesel and electric locomotives as well as DMUs
and EMUs to meet surging demands for them ... Now, SRT has
to keep good old GE locomotives functioning 20 more years
by replacing the new diesel-electric engines even
though they are supposed to retire from their jobs after
40 years in services (commissioned since 1964).
Now, the latest news is that the Governemtn apporves the Double Tracking from Chacheongsao to Laem Chabang Deep Sea Port via Sri Racha Junction to enable SRT to transport moro imported and exported products faster ...
The double tracking of otehr line has been frozen .... until demands pick up
double tracking and gauge breaking
This was originally a private message question & answer between me and Wisarut:
Referring to the article
"Nationwide double tracking - Long way to get started - translated and summarized by Wisarut Bholsithi from Than Setthakij, May 13 - 15, 2004",
could you further explain the following:
3) Laying the new high-speed rail track (standard gauge) for some sections while the rest will be meter gauge double tracks
---What does that mean exactly? I cannot imagine. Standard gauge in one section and meter gauge in others? Mixed gauge? How does that work?
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.
---What is a 'gauge braking problem'???
[note: according to Wisarut's answer below, the correct writing for this term must be gauge 'breaking', not 'braking' and I also edited the spelling in his answer.]
Re: double tracking
For the cause of Gauge breaking, I assume that Traffic Policy Office won't come up with the dedicated route for most sections except the section with very difficulties (e.g. Sila At - Chiang Mai) as the way to save money.
Gauge breaking is the case where the track have VERY different gauge (e.g. Standard Gauge vs Meter Gauge, Broad Gauge vs. meter gauge) which require the rejig and retool the bogies for hours before going through the route with different gauge again
-> or having to change the train at the place where gauge breaking occurs -> very damning inconvenience.
Mixed gauge as the track from Hanoi to Dong Dang checkpoint
solve the gauge breaking problem but the train schedule will become complicated to prevent head-on collision (especially for the case for single track).
I know that Khorat people want High Speed rail system
... and the current route BKK - Ban Phaee - Kaeng Khoi - Pakchong - Nakhon Ratchasima is UNSUITABLE for gauge conversion -> especially the section from Kaeng Khoi to Pakchong.
Therefore SRT will have to come up with the new dedicated routes
to pass the new city at Banna, Khao Yai National Park and Pakchong before ending up at Nakhon Ratchasima. The old section will be left alone for the regular, rapid train as well as the cargo trains to Laem Chabang.
After reaching Khorat, there will be new double track lines from Nakhon Ratchasima to Ubon and Nong Khai - branching out at Thanon Chira Junction (downtown Nakhon Ratchasima).
Last edited by ncr; 17-05-04 at 10:32 PM.
To summarize this again, there are three options:
1./2. Upgrade the existing meter gauge network to electrified double track with moderate 'high speed'.
3. Leave the old tracks as they are (just adding a second one, but not improving the quality), while upgrading certain sections of the network to high speed with standard gauge, as far as I understood.
Probably it was first planned to exchange the old meter gauge track into standard gauge in the respective sections, which would of course be utterly silly.... and now apparently in the form of adding standard gauge rails to the meter gauge tracks (=mixed gauge), which still isn't a much better solution. Why should anyone want to create such a complicated double-gauge system where you have to change trains at the end of the standard gauge section (supposed they are not 'rejigged'/put on smaller bogies there)??? Better keep a consistent system, even if it's not quite as fast (as the standard gauge within its limited sections). The other new problem, as mentioned, is that the trains cannot run as fast on the mixed tracks as they could on dedicated standard gauge high speed tracks, anyway. So it all doesn't make the slightest sense.
Nevertheless, Wisarut says this latter option is favored by the Traffic Policy Office.....
I think Traffic Policy Office has acted more like a spinning doctor - through the order directed from Minister Suriya ... Even though they PRETEND to support mass transit system but they ACTUALLY mess, spoil or even RUIN the plan - with EVIL intentions...
Double Track Project
Double Tracking Project Cut Down from 4000 km to 800 km
Bangkok Biznews - Feb 16, 2005
After the Double Tracking Scandals, MOTC has asked SRT to
CUT DOWN the double Tracking Project from 4000 km to 800 km,
budget cut down form 400 Billion Baht to 100 Billion Baht, and Schedue Shortening from 2006 - 2012 period to 2006 - 2011 period.
The Budget allocation for 800 km double track can be allocated as follows:
1) Construction of 800 km doubel track = 75 Billion Baht
2) New Rollign Stocks and New Locos = 25 Billion Baht
There is a provision to construct the standard gauge High Speed Rail for Passenger Service while the meter gauge rail will be used for cargo transportation as well as commuter line and local lines.
Each Day, SRT has to run 376 passenger trips and 36 cargo trips ... However, the single tracks have become a limitign factor for incrasing
and speed up cargo service while cutting down the delay on cargo service can be more than 5 hour in some case -> Cargo serce money maker services of SRT since it is paid at market rate, nto the controlled rates as passenger services.
Now, SRT said they decide to postpone the cdouble trackign project from Nakhon Ratchasima to Ubon Ratchathanee (311.45 km) to be started after 2011 since there are ONLY 7 passenger trains passing all the way from Nakhon Ratchasima to Ubon each day. However, the Soutehrn route from Nakhon pathom to Surat Thani (586.9 km) is VERY lucrative route for both passengers as well as the cargo route ..
The following the the distance between the proposed Double trackign routes:
Sri Racha - Laem Chabang = 9.25 km
Chachoengsao - Sri Racha = 69.61 km
Chachonegsao - Klong 19 = 24.61 km
Kaeng Khoi - Klogn 19 = 82.84 km
Nakhon Pathom - Surat Thanee = 586.9 km
Lopburi - Phiotsanuloke 256.47 km
I guess there is more than an element of realism in this.
Just a pity that they sat on this decision until after the election. That said, the government is probably confident that no one will actually bother to monitor their promises.
Last edited by GWR; 16-02-05 at 12:08 PM.
This announcement seems silly!
so rather than prosecuting people for corruption, implementing increased transparency and accountability in tendering and payments; the much needed plans of double tracking of the national network is being cut by 80%.
Or is it about too many 'mega-projects' and not enough money? Or are BKK some urban transport projects (eg. Pink Line) which support housing development projects (some proposed by companies assoc. to major decision makers) being prioritised over national network expanansion? Obviously, we want both.
I would have thought that with increased trade with China and ASEAN area, that the North (Phi'lok to Chiang Mai) and NE lines (Korat to Nong Khai) would have been a good strategic investment.
And what happened to proposed network expansion to Chiang Rai (Mae Sai/Chinag Seng future?) and from Koen Khean to the E (NakornPhanom way?) for Vietnam link?
Well, this kind of cut is sugested by Ministry of Finace so as to minimize the budget constrain ... ONLY the line which hhave STRONG Demand will become double tracks line FIRST ... and the traffic alogn Northeastern routes is still too low to justfy the double tracking in the first 5 years (2006 - 2011)
The strong demands from Laem Chabang as well as the Southern line have compelled the government to start the double track from Chachoengsao to
Laem Chabang, Kaeng Khoi - Klong 19 - Chachoengsao as well as Nakhon Pathom to Surat Thani (the biggest chunk of all)
The government wil change theri mind if they get the pressure from thsoe farmers who live in Upper Central region to push the doubel track project from Lopburi to Phitsanuloke and Isan folks to push teh douhnle trackign to Nakhon Ratchasima .. Eventually, the have to approved teh delayed Denchai - Chaing Rai route as well as the doule track form Chaing Mai to Lamphun
to please Premeir Thaksin
Can anyone answer this one?
If SRT say there is not a case for double tracking in the northeast, where is the justification for a high speed rail line from Bangkok to Korat? Or is this about to get quietly put to one side, now the election is over?
Probably so ... but Those Khorat People will keep pushing this High Speed Railway Project so hard since most MPs of Khorat coem from Ai Suwat's faction ...and Ai Suwat faction has invited otehr Isan factions to joint with the faction so as to push this high speed rail project forward ...
Pork Barrel indeed ...
Now, Thai Railfans from Southern Isan region feel OUTRAGED that the double trackign form Khorat to Ubon Ratchathanee has been POSEPONED due the th reason that ther are ONLY 7 trains between Nakhon Ratchasima and Ubon Ratchathani ...
Thai Railfans from Ubontell me that the Government are INSINCERE on the supporting mass transit system and he pointed out that the governemtn has bene tellign a BIG LIE to the public at large including Bangkok Biznews because ther are actually 28 Trains that goes from Ubon to Khorat ... a LOT mroe than the governemtn's claims