Bangkok, Thailand – Thailand’s state railway operator, SRT, has had its tri-airport high-speed railway link approved in principle by The Eastern Economic Corridor Board which has been tasked with boosting the economic output of Thailand’s eastern seaboard.
The airport rail link is intended to connect Bangkok’s Don Mueang airport in the north of the city, the country’s main airport Suvarnbhumi in the southeast of the city and U-Tapao airport on Thailand’s eastern seaboard. At present only Suvarnbhumi is connected to central Bangkok by the Airport Rail Link (ARL). The proposed route would utilise that existing rail link infrastructure by building a new line from the ARL’s Phaya Thai station in a northern direction to Don Mueang and in a southern direction from Suvarnbhumi to U-Tapao, with five new stations built along the way.
The ARL is currently losing money due to its limited route which runs from the central hub of Bangkok, through several cavernous stations conspicuously deserted before reaching the airport. By extending its reach to the eastern seaboard the ARL hopes to cure its financial woes and take advantage of the latent economic potential in that region. Currently getting from the various industrial estates and factories in Chonburi is only possible by road.
The SRT has also launched a feasibility study for new railway routes in tourist areas, taking inspiration from Japan’s JR Kyushu Railway’s Seven Stars luxury services.
Seven Stars is a luxury sleeper train in Japan. It is a ‘cruise train’ that allows passengers to alight and participate in excursions over the course of a four day scenic journey.
The SRT has hired the Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC) to carry out the study which will look at potential routes around the country and different designs. The study is expected to take eight months to complete.