MRT Blue Line

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Blue Line
MRT (Bangkok) logo.svg
BangkokMetro SiLomStation.jpg
Train arriving at Si Lom Station
Overview
Native nameสายเฉลิมรัชมงคล
TypeRapid Transit - Heavy Rail
SystemMRT
LocaleBangkok
TerminiTao Poon
Lak Song
Stations30
Operation
Opened3 July 2004
OwnerMass Rapid Transit Authority
Operator(s)Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited
Depot(s)Phra Ram 9
Phetkasem
Technical
Line length37.1 km (23.1 mi)
Number of tracks2
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
ElectrificationThird rail
Operating speed80 km/h (50 mph)
Route map

Tha Phra
 MRT 
Charan 13
Fai Chai
Bang Khun Non
 MRT 
Bang Yi Khan
Sirindhorn
Bang Phlat
Bang O
Bang Pho
Tao Poon
 MRT 
Bang Sue
Bang Sue Central
under construction
 SRT   SRT  ARLbangkok.svg  ARL 
Kamphaeng Phet
Chatuchak Park
 BTS 
Phahon Yothin
Lat Phrao
( MRL )
Ratchadaphisek
Sutthisan
Huai Khwang
Thailand Cultural Centre
 MRT 
Rama 9 Depot
Phra Ram 9
Phetchaburi
 SRT  ARLbangkok.svg  ARL 
Sukhumvit
 BTS 
Queen Sirikit
National Convention Centre
Khlong Toei
Lumphini
Si Lom
 BTS 
Sam Yan
Hua Lamphong
 SRT 
Wat Mangkon
Sam Yot
 MRT 
Sanam Chai
Chao Phraya River
Itsaraphap
Tha Phra
 MRT 
Bang Phai
Bang Wa
 BTS 
Phetkasem 48
Phetkasem Depot
Phasi Charoen
Bang Khae
Lak Song
Phutthamonthon Sai 2
Thawi Watthana
Phutthamonthon Sai 3
Phutthamonthon Sai 4

The MRT Chaloem Ratchamongkhon line (Thai: รถไฟฟ้ามหานคร สายเฉลิมรัชมงคล) or MRT Blue line (Thai: รถไฟฟ้ามหานคร สายสีน้ำเงิน) is the first of Bangkok's MRT system and the city's third rapid transit line, following the Sukhumvit line and Silom line of the BTS Skytrain. The MRT Blue line opened on 3 July 2004.[1] Current average daily ridership is 400,000.[2]

A much delayed 27 km extension to the Blue line began construction in mid-2011. It was originally due for completion in late 2016 but the floods of 2011 added one year to the schedule.[3] The first section of the Blue Line extension from Hua LamphongTha Phra commenced limited trial operations on 29 July 2019. The full extension from Hua Lamphong to Lak Song officially opened on 29 September 2019. [4]

The 2nd section of the extension from Tao Poon Station to Tha Phra will open in March 2020, [5] over three years later than originally scheduled when construction started.

When completed the 48-km-long MRT Blue Line would form a quasi circle line for the Bangkok's metro rail system, encircling the core business and cultural areas of Bangkok and Thonburi. It currently provides connections to the BTS Skytrain, Airport Rail Link and MRT Purple Line. It will also connect with the future SRT Red Lines, future MRT Orange Line and future MRT Yellow Line thus providing interchange with most other mass transit lines.

Route Alignment[edit]

The MRT Blue line runs eastward from Tao Poon Station in Bang Sue District along Kamphaeng Phet, Phahon Yothin and Lat Phrao Roads, then turns south following Ratchadaphisek Road, then west following Rama IV Road to Hua Lamphong station in Pathum Wan District. From Hua Lamphong terminus the line runs 5.4 km underground through Chinatown, then under the Chao Praya river to Tha Phra self interchange station where it become an elevated line. The line continues elevated, west along Phetkasem road to Bang Wa Station in Phasi Charoen District to interchange with Silom Line. It continues further along Phetkasem Road where it terminates at Lak Song in Bang Khae just near the Western Outer Ring road Kanchanaphisek Road.

History[edit]

For the Blue Line most civil infrastructure was provided by a new government agency, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), and handed over to a private-sector operator for a 25-year concession agreement. The winning bidder was Bangkok Metro Company Limited (BMCL), subsequently renamed Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited (BEM). BMCL/BEM provide maintenance & engineering equipment, including electrical trains, signalling systems, SCADA, communication, platform screen doors and fully operates the system. BMCL/BEM has subcontracted maintenance of the system for 10 years to Siemens and seven-year maintenance contracts to two local maintenance services.[6]

The construction of the first Bangkok Metro line, officially known as Chaloem Ratchamongkhon (Thai สายเฉลิมรัชมงคล) – "Celebration of Royal Auspice" – or informally as the "Blue Line", began on 19 November 1996. The project suffered multiple delays not only because of the 1997 economic crisis, but also due to challenging civil engineering works of constructing massive underground structures deep in the water-logged soil upon which the city is built.

The Blue line was opened for a limited public trial period of several weeks starting on 13 April 2004. On 3 July 2004 the line was officially opened at 19:19 local time by HM King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit,[1] who were accompanied by other members of the royal family. Within 30 minutes of its opening, sightseers filled the system to its maximum capacity, but after the initial rush ridership settled down to around 180,000 riders daily — considerably lower than projections of over 400,000, despite fares being slashed in half from 12-38 baht to 10-15 baht per trip.

Operation[edit]

Inside a Blue Line train, Siemens Modular Metro.
Faregates in a Blue Line station.
The platform of Phetchaburi MRT Station.
The exit level of Kamphaeng Phet MRT Station.

The 30 station Blue line runs from Tao Poon to Lak Song via Phra Ram 9 and Hua Lamphong and has a carrying capacity of 40,000 people in each direction per hour. Similar to the Skytrain, the Metro uses trains supplied by Siemens that travel at up to 80 km/h. Passengers can change to the Skytrain at Si Lom, Sukhumvit, Chatuchak Park and Bang Wa stations. The metro has a large depot in Huai Khwang district, which is located between Phra Ram 9 and Thailand Cultural Centre stations. The line operates from 6am to midnight with last services departing between 11.40 to 11.45pm.

Due to safety considerations, platform screen doors are installed. Uniformed security personnel and security cameras are present at each and every platform. Currently 45 three-car metro trains, of the Siemens Modular Metro type, are used. Each metro train consists of two motor cars and a centre trailer car.[7] Passenger announcements on this line are made by journalist and news broadcaster Sarocha Pornudomsak.

Ridership[edit]

After opening in 2004, initial ridership was 180,000 per day — considerably lower than projections of over 400,000. By 2016, the average daily ridership was 273,637.[8] By September 2017, BEM stated that average daily ridership had increased to 360,000 after the opening of the extension to Tao Poon.[9]

After the opening of the extension to Lak Song on 29 September 2019, average daily ridership increased to 400,000.[10]

New Rolling stock order[edit]

The Blue Line MRT Siemens Inspiro rolling stock at Laem Chabang Port, Chonburi province

In September 2017, BEM contracted Siemens to supply 35 sets (3 cars) of Siemens Inspiro rolling stock and provide maintenance for 10 years, a contract worth 20 billion baht. The fleet will be built in the Siemens plant in Vienna. The first batch of 3 sets of the new trains were delivered by late 2018. [9] A further 6 sets were delivered by late May 2019. A second batch of 10 sets will be delivered by September 2019 and the last batch of 16 sets will be delivered by March 2020. [11]

Stations[edit]

Code
Station Name
English
Station Name
Thai
Change for
Location
Tao Poon-Tha Phra Extension (under construction, scheduled to open 2 March 2020)[12]
BL01 Tha Phra ท่าพระ  MRT  (Hua Lamphong-Lak Song Extension, under construction) Bangkok Yai
BL02 Charan 13 จรัญฯ 13
BL03 Fai Chai ไฟฉาย Bangkok Noi
BL04 Bang Khun Non บางขุนนนท์  MRT  (approved)  SRT  (planned)
BL05 Bang Yi Khan บางยี่ขัน Bang Phlat
BL06 Sirindhorn สิรินธร
BL07 Bang Phlat บางพลัด
BL08 Bang O บางอ้อ
BL09 Bang Pho บางโพ Bang Sue
Operational
BL10 Tao Poon เตาปูน  MRT  Bang Sue
BL11 Bang Sue บางซื่อ  SRT  (under construction)  SRT  (planned)

ARLbangkok.svg  ARL  (proposed) inter-city rails

Chatuchak
BL12 Kamphaeng Phet กำแพงเพชร
BL13 Chatuchak Park สวนจตุจักร  BTS 
BL14 Phahon Yothin พหลโยธิน  BTS 
BL15 Lat Phrao ลาดพร้าว  MRL  (under construction)
BL16 Ratchadaphisek รัชดาภิเษก Din Daeng/Huai Khwang
BL17 Sutthisan สุทธิสาร
BL18 Huai Khwang ห้วยขวาง
BL19 Thailand Cultural Centre ศูนย์วัฒนธรรมแห่งประเทศไทย  MRT  (Under construction)
BL20 Phra Ram 9 พระราม 9
BL21 Phetchaburi เพชรบุรี ARLbangkok.svg  ARL  SRT  (proposed) inter-city rails Ratchathewi
BL22 Sukhumvit สุขุมวิท  BTS  Watthana
BL23 Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre ศูนย์การประชุมแห่งชาติสิริกิติ์ Khlong Toei
BL24 Khlong Toei คลองเตย
BL25 Lumphini ลุมพินี Sathon
BL26 Si Lom สีลม  BTS  Bang Rak
BL27 Sam Yan สามย่าน Pathum Wan
BL28 Hua Lamphong หัวลำโพง  SRT  (Planned) inter-city rails
BL29 Wat Mangkon วัดมังกร Samphanthawong
BL30 Sam Yot สามยอด  MRT  (Tao Poon-Rat Burana Extension, approved) Phra Nakhon
BL31 Sanam Chai สนามไชย
BL32 Itsaraphap อิสรภาพ Bangkok Yai
BL01 Tha Phra ท่าพระ  MRT  (Tao Poon-Tha Phra Extension, under construction)
BL33 Bang Phai บางไผ่ Phasi Charoen
BL34 Bang Wa บางหว้า  BTS 
BL35 Phetkasem 48 เพชรเกษม 48
BL36 Phasi Charoen ภาษีเจริญ
BL37 Bang Khae บางแค Bang Khae
BL38 Lak Song หลักสอง
Lak Song-Phutthamonthon Sai 4 Extension (approved)
BL39 Phutthamonthon Sai 2 พุทธมณฑลสาย 2 Bang Khae/Nong Khaem
BL40 Thawi Watthana ทวีวัฒนา
BL41 Phutthamonthon Sai 3 พุทธมณฑลสาย 3
BL42 Phutthamonthon Sai 4 พุทธมณฑลสาย 4

Major accident record[edit]

On 17 January 2005, just after 09:15, an empty train returning to the depot collided with a peak-hour train filled with passengers at the Thailand Cultural Centre station. 140 people were hurt, most of whom sustained only minor injuries, and the entire Metro network was shut down for two weeks.

After initial investigations, it was found that the empty train had run into problems shortly before the accident, grinding to a halt on a curve leading to the depot. The driver applied its brake and was waiting to be towed to the maintenance centre close to Thailand Cultural Centre station.

A rescue train was attempting to connect to the stalled train when the driver was told to release the brake while coupling had not yet been successful. It was then that the empty train began to roll backwards at a speed of ten metres per second, before smashing into the other train, which was carrying passengers. Therefore, it was believed that the incident was caused by negligence due to insufficient training of operation staff.[13] This accident also resulted in two damaged trains with heavily damaged areas limited to the two leading cars. The colliding speed was suspected to be about 60 km/h due to the appearance of damaged areas. However, one train, which was rebuilt from the repair of the minor-damaged cars, was already fitted for operation at the end of 2006 and the remaining one was still under heavy repair until mid of 2007; it was released into service in October 2007. The cost resulting from the accident might be a much higher figure than BMCL quoted, and it was expected to be at least 400 million baht, which was totally insured by a local insurance company.

The Metro resumed full operations on 1 February 2005, and passenger numbers soon rose back to pre-crash levels, partly due to a temporary promotional fare scheme which allowed passengers to travel any distance on the MRT for only ten baht.

Current extension under construction[edit]

Bang Wa MRT Station in June 2016, when it was still under construction

The 27 km Blue Line extension will form a quasi circle line (loop). It consists of 19 stations (4 underground stations and 15 elevated stations). (The previous terminus at Bang Sue was extended 1.2 km to the current terminus at Tao Poon as part of the Purple Line project. This opened on 11 August 2017 ).

From Tao Poon station, the line will run elevated west along Pracha Rat Sai 2 rd, cross the Chao Phraya river and then run south along the Ratchadapisek inner ring road (Charan Sanit Wong rd) terminating at Tha Phra. From the previous Hua Lamphong terminus the line runs 5.4 km underground through Chinatown, under the Chao Praya river to Tha Phra station where it surfaces. It then runs elevated west along Phetkasem road to Lak Song.

The project is divided into 5 contracts:

Contract Notes Kilometre
1 Hua Lamphong to Sanam Chai (2 stations underground, Bt11.65 Billion, contractor ITD) 2.8 km
2 Sanam Chai to Tha Phra (2 stations underground, Bt10.82B, contractor CK) 2.6 km
3 Tao Poon to Tha Phra (8 stations elevated, Bt11.40B, contractor SH-Unique Joint venture) 11 km
4 Tha Phra to Lak Song (7 stations elevated, plus a park-and-ride venue and maintenance yard, Bt13.43B, contractor STEC) 10.5 km
5 Rolling stock and systems, Bt5.17 Billion, contractor CK.

Construction Progress[edit]

Construction commenced in mid-2011 for a scheduled 2016 opening. As of July 2014, civil works progress was 52% done.[14] By October 2014, civil works were 63.75% done. As of January 2017, civil works were 89.16% done.[15] As of 31 December 2017, the progress of civil works construction was at 97.52% according to the MRTA [16] As of the end of April 2018, the MRTA stated that civil works progress had advanced to 98.25% with Signalling & Electrical installation at 41.30%.[17]

In August, 2017, BEM awarded the automatic fare collection ticket for the extension to Thales which will install its TransCity system.[18] The contract also includes ongoing training and future support. In September 2017, BEM announced that Siemens and ST Electronics Thailand were awarded the contract (Contract 5) to supply, install and maintain the E&S systems systems, install station Platform Screen Doors and fit out the depot. Siemens also will supply 35 sets of rolling stock.[19]

The first section of the Blue Line extension from Hua LamphongTha Phra commenced limited trial operations on 29 July 2019. The full section from Hua LamphongTha PhraLak Song officially opened on 29 September 2019. [20] The final section from Tao Poon to Tha Pra will open in March 2020. [21]

Future extension[edit]

West: Phutthamonthon Sai 4 Extension[edit]

Since 2011, there were requests from residents to extend the line further from Lak Song west to the Phutthamonthon area. The MRTA has indicated a willingness to undertake this extension. In July 2014, the MRTA submitted a request for 84 million baht to complete a route survey for a 7.8 km extension from Lak Song to Phutthamonthon Sai 4.[22] In late March 2017, the Transport Ministry stated that this 7.8 km extension would be submitted to Cabinet for approval in April 2017. The expected timeframe was for construction to commence in the 4th quarter of 2017.[23] However, the tender has been delayed until late 2019.

South: Tha Phra south?[edit]

There is future potential and contingency for the Blue Line to be extended further south from Tha Phra along the inner ring road (Ratchadapisek rd) to provide interchange with the SRT Dark Red line, MRT Purple Line and future BMA Grey line Monorail. However, this is not part of current OTP plans and would only be considered in the long term future.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b ทอดพระเนตรศูนย์ควมคุมการปฏิบัติการรถไฟฟ้ามหานคร ซึ่งตั้งอยู่บริเวณเขตหัวยขวาง - Ourking. Ourking (in Thai). 2004-07-03. Retrieved 2017-04-14.
  2. ^ https://www.khaosod.co.th/economics/news_2933591. Khaosod ,30 September 2019
  3. ^ รถไฟฟ้าสายสีน้ำเงิน อุโมงค์ลอดใต้แม่น้ำเจ้าพระยา [Blue Line Tunnel under the river]. Voice TV21 (in Thai). 3 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Fares start on Blue Line link". Bangkok Post. 30 September 2019.
  5. ^ "Blue Line add-on ahead of schedule". Bangkok Post. 9 August 2018.
  6. ^ "Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand". mrta.co.th. Retrieved 2017-04-14.
  7. ^ "Bangkok's first underground metro open". International Railway Journal. findarticles.com. July 2004. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  8. ^ "Financial Summary of the Consolidated Financial Statements of Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited and its Subsidiaries" (PDF). 2017.
  9. ^ a b "BEM to buy 35 more Blue Line trains". Bangkok Post. Bangkok. 15 September 2017.
  10. ^ https://www.khaosod.co.th/economics/news_2933591. Khaosod ,30 September 2019
  11. ^ "MRT Line to Tha Pra to debut on mothers day". Bangkok Post. 6 June 2019.
  12. ^ www.prachachat.net/ (6 July 2018). “ช.การช่าง” เร่งรถไฟฟ้าสายสีน้ำเงิน 14 ส.ค.ปีหน้าเปิดหวูด “หัวลำโพง-หลักสอง” (in Thai). Retrieved 6 July 2018.
  13. ^ "Thai subway shut for safety probe". BBC News. 17 January 2005. Retrieved 13 May 2010.
  14. ^ คมนาคมตามความคืบหน้ารถไฟฟ้า 10 สาย เร่งสีม่วงเปิดปลายปี’58 ชงคสช.อนุมัติอีก 6 สาย [Transport under accelerated progress Metro Purple Line 10 opened in late '58. NBC maker. Approved by 6 lines.] (in Thai). 28 July 2014.
  15. ^ เปิดแน่ ส.ค.นี้! ครม.ปลดล็อก "1 สถานี" รฟม.ลุยเซ็นจ้าง BEM ส่วนสีน้ำเงินตลอดสายเปิด มี.ค. 63 (in Thai). 14 February 2017.
  16. ^ https://www.mrta.co.th/th/news/information/ความก-าวหน-าการก-อสร-างรถไฟฟ-า-ณ-31-ธ-นวาคม-2560/. MRTA Press, 16 January 2018
  17. ^ https://www.mrta.co.th/th/news/information/ความก-าวหน-าการก-อสร-างรถไฟฟ-า-ณ-30-เมษายน-2561/. MRTA Press, 30 April 2018
  18. ^ "Thales wins Bangkok metro fare collection contract". International Railway Journal. 23 August 2017.
  19. ^ "Siemens consortium wins Bangkok Blue Line extension contract". International Railway Journal. 19 September 2017.
  20. ^ "Fares start on Blue Line link". Bangkok Post. 30 September 2019.
  21. ^ "MRT Line to Tha Pra to debut on mothers day". Bangkok Post. 6 June 2019.
  22. ^ ลุ้นคลังไฟเขียวงบรถไฟ-รฟม [Win No Green Light Railway Company - MRTA]. Than Online (in Thai). 15 July 2014.
  23. ^ "Blue Line extension, freeway pends Cabinet approval". The Bangkok Post. Bangkok. 26 March 2017. Retrieved 28 March 2017.

External links[edit]