High-Speed Rail Linked 3 Airport project is a 220km high-speed railway line, which will connect three major airports in Thailand, namely Don Mueang International Airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, and U-Tapao International Airport.
The proposed high-speed rail project will provide connections to five provinces, Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Chachoengsao, Chonburi, and Rayong.
It is one of the major infrastructure projects to be developed in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) investment zone and will be taken up by State Railway of Thailand (SRT) through public-private-partnership.
Thailand’s cabinet approved the construction of the THB225bn ($6.8bn) project in March 2018. Construction is expected to be commenced in 2019, with completion scheduled for 2023.
High-Speed Rail Linked 3 Airport project route and infrastructure details
The high-speed rail project will run along a 29km stretch of the existing railway route and 191km of a new high-speed rail route.
It consists of three segments, including a 21km extension of high-speed rail from Airport Rail Link at Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok to Phaya Thai. It will also feature construction of a 29km stretch of Airport Rail Link from Phaya Thai to Suvarnabhumi Airport, as well as a new 170km high-speed rail line from Suvarnabhumi Airport to U-Tapao Airport.
The new high-speed rail route section will feature 181km of elevated track, 8km of underground track, and 2km of surface track.
The two new routes, Phaya Thai to Don Muang and Lad Krabang to U-Tapao (Rayong), will have a track gauge of 1,435mm, which will offer easier movement.
The project will also include installation of electrical and mechanical systems such as signalling, power, communications, automatic fare collection, platform door, and train and carriage electrical supply.
An operation and maintenance facility will also be built in order to carry out inspection and maintenance.
The High-Speed Rail Linked 3 Airport project will have a total of nine high-speed railway stations and ten city line stations.
The electric trains will operate at a maximum speed of 160km/h on the urban line from Don Mueang to Suvarnabhumi station, while the operating speed on the city line from Suvarnabhumi to U-Tapao station will be 250km/h.
Makkasan station will be developed across 24ha as the main station for the railway, while Si Racha station, spread over 4ha, will support SRT’s railway services and locomotives maintenance.
Ridership and benefits of the high-speed rail project
The airport rail link project will have the capacity to carry 147,000 passengers a day during its first year of operation, while travel time from U-Tapao airport to Bangkok along the route will be 45 minutes.
It will generate 16,000 jobs during the construction phase and contribute THB652,152 ($20,785) to the country’s economy.
The project aims to support the development of surrounding areas and attract foreign investment to EEC.
A consortium led by Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group) and BSR Joint Venture (JV) submitted bids for the high-speed rail project in November 2018.
CP Group consortium consists of China Railway Construction, CITIC Group, Siemens, Hyundai, Bangkok Expressway and Metro, Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane.
It also includes Italian-Thai Development, CH Karnchang, Japan Overseas Infrastructure Investment for Transport & Urban Development, China Resources (Holdings), and CRRC-Sifang.
BSR is a joint venture between Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction, Ratchaburi Electricity Generating, and BTS Group.