Swiss technology revolutionises Thai railways with first arch culvert

Swiss technology finds its way into the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) as arch culvert technology is incorporated into the double-track railroad project between Den Chai district in Phrae and Chiang Khong district in Chiang Rai. This marks the first time such technology is being used in Thailand, according to Ekkarat Sriarayanpong, the head of the SRT governor’s office.

The first of its kind, the arch culvert is under construction in Tambon Pong Pa Wai in the Den Chai district, forming a part of the Den Chai-Ngao railway section. The culvert, which is 33.5 metres in length and 4.2m in height, is expected to be completed in two months.

The Swiss technology not only promises to reduce the cost of arch culverts by 20-25% but also aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the site by cutting back on cement usage. Precast fortified concrete slabs, produced in a factory, replace the traditional cement and are assembled at the site.

Furthermore, the arch design of the culvert provides ample space for vehicles to pass underneath the railway, boasting a total height from floor to ceiling of up to 4.2m.

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This project plans to incorporate at least 37 such arch culverts: 21 in the first section of the railway, eight in the second, and at least eight in the final section.

The first section of the railway, Den Chai-Ngao, spans 103.7 kilometres and has cost 26.6 billion baht to build. Progress on this section is at 6.49%, ahead of the initial schedule. The second section, Ngao-Chiang Rai, stands at 7.76% completion, running 132.3km long and costing 26.89 billion baht. The final section, Chiang Rai-Chiang Khong, is 5.54% complete, stretching 87.1km and has been allocated a budget of 19.38 billion baht.

The double-track railway, slated for completion in 2028, promises faster transportation for passengers and goods. It will also provide a connection between Laos and China’s Kunming region.

Notably, the railway will facilitate the transportation of goods from other landlocked countries in the Greater Mekong Sub-region through Thailand. These goods can then be shipped to a third destination country from the Laem Chabang seaport.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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