Thailand signs contracts for its first Bombardier monorail lines

BANGKOK: Bombardier Transportation has announced two contracts for its Innovia Monorail 300 system for two mass rapid transit lines in Thailand.

The contracts are with the Northern Bangkok Monorail Co. Ltd. (NBM) and the Eastern Bangkok Monorail Co. Ltd. (EBM), who will be responsible for the turnkey construction and 30-year concession of the new, elevated lines which will improve the commute for over 400,000 people every day.

The contract with NBM concerns the new 34.5km Khae Rai-MinBuri (Pink) Line to operate with 42 train sets and EBM’s contract comprises 30 trainsets for the 30.4km Lat Phrao-Samrong (Yellow) Line.

The contracts also include providing the project management, systems engineering and integration, testing and commissioning for the new trains and systems.

Thailand monorail

Bombardier will design and supply the mechanical and electrical elements for the two monorail lines, and will deliver 72, four-car INNOVIA Monorail 300 trains (288 cars) equipped with Bombardier Cityflo 650 automatic train control technology for driverless operation.

The trainsets will be manufactured at the Bombardier joint-venture Puzhen Bombardier Transportation Systems (PBTS) in China, working with Bombardier’s global Monorail Product and Engineering Experts.

“It is truly a landmark milestone for our monorail technology to be chosen for these visionary urban development projects in Bangkok”

“Bombardier is helping cities across the world address their congestion issues and these iconic monorails will be an important addition to Bangkok’s growing rail network, providing comfortable, quick travel for hundreds of thousands of passengers daily,” said Richard Hunter, President of Rail Control Solutions and South East Asia at Bombardier Transportation. “Our driverless INNOVIA Monorail 300 system offers energy efficiency, sleek design, spacious interiors and inter-car walkthrough for superb comfort and enhanced safety as well as rubber tires for minimised noise and a smooth ride. Also able to handle sharp curves and complex environments, it is well suited to the high-capacity requirements of the Thai capital. Falling in our 20th Anniversary Year in Thailand, it is truly a landmark milestone for our monorail technology to be chosen for these visionary urban development projects in Bangkok.”

The contract is valued at THB 50billion (USD $1.47 billion) for trains to be used on the two monorail routes.

Operating in the city’s northern and eastern areas, the monorails will integrate with the existing transportation network and run at speeds up to 80km/h with a maximum capacity of over 28,000 passengers per-hour, per-direction.

A Canadian company Bombardier Transportation (Trains) is headquartered in Berlin.

The Thai cabinet awarded the 105 billion baht (USD $3 billion) concession contracts of the two monorail projects earlier last year for the 34.5 km Pink Line and 30.4 km Yellow Line to BSR, a joint venture among BTS Group Holding Plc which is running the BTS skytrains in Bangkok, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc (STEC) and Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding Plc (Ratch).

Construction work can start this year and will start operation in 2020. Keeree Kanjanapas, chairman of BTS Group which holds 75 percent of the BSR consortium, said, “After we agree on the trains and all the land is surveyed, we can begin the construction work, in this year.”

The Thai government will inject some 40 billion baht for related civil works and BSR will invest 60 million baht in construction, train operation and management in the two projects worth over 100 billion baht in total.

The contracts of the two lines are divided into two phases, the first being the construction, which will last 39 months while the second phase is operation, which will last 30 years.

Spider Card

In related news Bangkok is set to introduce its “Spider Card” this year. A common ticketing system for different modes of public transport.

Peraphon Thawornsupacharoen, deputy permanent secretary for transport, said the system, called the mangmoom (spider), will be used not only by four electric rail routes but also by the city bus system which operates 2,600 buses in the city.

Passengers currently have to buy separate tickets for each rail service. The spider card will serve as a single ticket to make travel more convenient for Bangkok commuters.

Mr Peraphon said the four electric rail systems – the BTS Skytrain, the Airport Rail Link, the Purple Line and the Blue Line subway service – will likely be the first to use the new card.

Due to different companies operating the different transport systems it’s going to be complicated to sort out, meanwhile commuters are ready for its long overdue roll out.

The Ministry of Transport has also said a new public-private partnership is also needed to manage the card.