BangkokThailandTransport

Minister confirms all train services at Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong station will end

PHOTO: Flickr/Clay Gilliland

Rail services to Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong station will soon be no more, according to Thailand’s Transport Minister. Saksayam Chidchob says services to the station will initially be decreased from 118 a day to 22, before being phased out completely. No date has been confirmed for the termination of all services, but an earlier proposal has it pencilled in for December 23. The move has Bangkok commuters up in arms, frustrated at the increase in expenditure their daily commute will entail.

According to a Thai PBS World report, many commuters say they will now have to travel from the capital’s Bang Sue station by bus in order to reach work places in the city centre. Saksayam has acknowledged their frustration and says he will hold talks with the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority about running a feeder bus service to transport people from Bang Sue station to the centre of the city. The minister has also pledged to discuss discounts with BTS Skytrain and Metropolitan Rapid Transit to reduce fares for people disembarking at Bang Sue.

Meanwhile, the minister says the State Railway of Thailand has created the SRT Asset Company Limited, which will manage the SRT’s assets in order to reduce its operational debts, which are approximately 600 billion baht. Thai PBS World reports that the Hua Lamphong terminal is one of several assets located on prime real estate, along with Thonburi train station, the Mae Nam railway station, and the Royal City Avenue land. The SRT is expected to make 5 billion baht in revenue from the development of its assets in the first year. This is expected to increase to 10 billion baht by year 5 and to 800 billion baht in around 30 years.

The minister has acknowledged calls to preserve the Hua Lamphong terminal as a museum, rather than sacrifice it to commercial development. However, he says the SRT’s significant debt means he may have to make an unpopular decision.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Maya Taylor

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