The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has completed its feasibility studies for new routes for electric trains, the authoritys acting governor Anon Luangboriboon said yesterday.
The matter was discussed during Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisiths visit to the SRT headquarters.
Mr Anon said four initial double-track routes would ideally be able to start using electric trains, adding no specific date has been set regarding procurement of the carriages or the wiring along the routes.
The routes, all of which are linked to the capital, will run to Nakhon Ratchasima, Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan, Nakhon Sawan and Chachoengsao, he said.
The routing will remain the same, since the proposed electric trains will still use the same tracks, Mr Anon said. Switching from diesel to electricity will mean installing transmission towers and wiring to transmit an electric current to the new locomotives.
He said the SRT has received 200 million baht to conduct further studies regarding details of the individual routes designs, such as where the transmission towers will be installed.
All of our locomotives should go electric but this is a change that will happen in the distant future, he added, citing environmental benefits linked to the switch.
Transport Minister Arkhom said planned studies into the refit should be completed before estimates for construction can be made.
In a similar development, Mr Arkhom said the SRTs train network will service 80 million passengers a year by 2027, after all three phases of double-track development and construction are complete.
SRT reports state the authority services around 35 million passengers a year, with its current routes stretching across 47 provinces. Its network is set to expand to 61 provinces after development plans are complete.
Mr Arkhom said plans for two more routes in the SRTs second development phase, which includes a total of nine new double-track routes, will be submitted to the cabinet for approval by next month.
The first route, from Ban Phai in Khon Kaen to Mukdahan and then Nakhon Phanom, will stretch 355km and is valued at 60 billion baht.
The second route will cover 326km from Den Chai in Phrae to Chiang Mai and then on to Chiang Kong in Chiang Rai, en route to Laos. It is valued at 77 billion baht. Seven more routes still require cabinet approval.
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