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Airport Rail Link
|System||Airport rail link|
|Opened||23 August 2010|
|Line length||28.6 kilometers (17.8 mi) (est.)|
|Track gauge||Standard gauge|
|Operating speed||160 km/h (99 mph)|
The Airport Rail Link (also Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link, Thai: รถไฟฟ้าเชื่อมท่าอากาศยานสุวรรณภูมิ or Airport Link, Thai: , แอร์พอร์ตลิงก์) is a rapid transit line in Bangkok, Thailand. The line provides as an airport rail link from Suvarnabhumi Airport, via Makkasan, to Phaya Thai station in central Bangkok. Most of the line is on a viaduct over the main eastern railway. It is owned by State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and operated by SRT subsidiary SRT Electrified Train (SRTET). Opened on August 23, 2010, the 28.6-km route is the fourth rapid transit line in Bangkok, after 2 BTS and 1 MRT lines. Services consists of two Express Lines, a 15-minute nonstop service between the Makkasan city air terminal and the airport and an 18-minute nonstop service between Phaya Thai and the airport, and the City Line, a commuter rail service with 8 stations.
The key airport link contract was signed in January 2005, and construction began in July 2005. The line is built by a consortium of B Grimm, STECON and Siemens, and is owned and operated by State Railway of Thailand (SRT). The estimated cost of the project is 25.9 billion baht.
The line is built largely along the same alignment as the failed Bangkok Elevated Road and Train System (BERTS) project, started by Hopewell but stopped in 1997 when only 10% had been completed. Some BERTS pillars stood in the way of the new system, and after extensive debate on their suitability for reuse and demands for compensation from Hopewell, SRT decided to demolish the pillars and build new ones.
While originally scheduled to be completed by 2006, the Hopewell debacle, an extended bidding process and a series of legal challenges from property owners who had encroached on SRT's land, have repeatedly delayed the project. Initial test runs were conducted in October 2009, with a free limited trial service open to the public running from April 2010 and full commercial service launched on 23 August 2010.
Extension continuing along the SRT Red Lines (former BERTS) alignment from Phaya Thai to Bang Sue is also planned. The line may be extended to Don Mueang (site of Don Mueang International Airport) depending on Don Muaeng Airport's usage policy. In addition, the eastern section of the SRT Light Red Line commuter rapid transit, if built, will utilize the right of way of the SRL, with interchange provided at SARL at Phayathai, Makkasan and Hua Mak station.
Passive provision is being made for an extension of the rail link to a future second terminal at Suvarnabhumi airport.
The ARL operates daily from 6:00 a.m. to 12 midnight, with the City Line trains departing every 15 minutes and the Express Line trains departing every 30 minutes. Between 23 August 2010 and 3 January 2011, passengers were charged a promotional fare of 15 Baht or 100 Baht on the City Line and Express Line service, respectively. On 4 January 2011, a standard fare of 15 to 45 Baht for the City Line was introduced. The Express Line was priced at 150 baht but insufficient patronage lead to a promotional fare of 90/150 for a single/return trip (within 14 days) on the Express Line from 1 June 2011. This fare has been extended until the end of 2012. .
Since 4 January 2011, baggage check-in service is offered to passengers traveling on flights operated by Thai Airways International from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., daily. Passengers checking in at Makkasan station (the city air terminal) are required to purchase an Express Line ticket and check in at least 3 hours prior to flight departure, or up to 12 hours in advance. Bangkok Airways discontinued baggage check-in service in this facility on 13 June 2011. However, very few passengers use the Makkasan station check in service with as few as 20 or less per day.
On 1 June 2011 additional Express Line services became available between Phaya Thai station and the airport with a total journey time of 18 minutes. This effectively means that there are two distinct Express Services: one to/from Phaya Thai with a 30 minute headway; and one to/from Makkasan Terminal with a 40 minute headway. This is due to a design flaw in the original laying of the rail which meant that the Express line track terminates at Makkasan and does not connect with the Cityline track further to Phayathai. The SRT allocated 17m baht in Feb 2012 to rectify this problem.
The standard gauge line is 28.6 km long and is elevated, running above the existing eastern railway, with an underground terminal at the airport. Both non-stop Suvarnabhumi Airport Express services and "stopping" Suvarnabhumi Airport City Line commuter services are operated, with Express journeys taking 15 minutes from Makkasan and 18 minutes from Phaya Thai while Commuter trips take 27 minutes.
Siemens supplied nine Desiro Class 360/2 trainsets. The only significant difference from the UK units is a much larger air-conditioning pod on the roof, providing extra power to cope with the Thai climate. City services will be operated by five three-car trains, and the Express services by four trainsets with a fourth car for check-in baggage. The first trains left Germany in September 2007, and testing in Bangkok began in March 2008. On 15 May 2012 the Thai Cabinet approved a budget of 4.2 billion baht for the SRT to order 7 new 4 car sets of rolling stock to be delivered by 2014.
The line is electrified at 25 kV AC. All stations were built to accommodate 10-car trains, and the express train platform of Makkasan station and all platforms at Suvarnabhumi are fitted with platform automatic screen doors. The top speed is 160 km/h, but the short distances between the stations imply that commuter services don't reach that speed.
At Makkasan and Suvarnabhumi, both lines have their own tracks and platforms. At Hua Mak the express line can bypass the city line via a passing loop.
|Code||Station Name||Thai||Express Train||City Train||Transfer|
|Suvarnabhumi Airport Rail Link|
|BTC||Ban Thap Chang||บ้านทับช้าง||●|
(City Air Terminal)
|●||●||Bangkok Metro Blue Line: Phetchaburi|
|PTH||Phaya Thai||พญาไท||●||●||BTS Sukhumvit Line: Phaya Thai|
- Airport rail link
- List of rapid transit systems
- Bangkok Metro
- BTS Skytrain
- SRT Red Lines
- Bangkok BRT
- "Bangkok Airport Express to change city travel". Railway Gazette International. December 2005.
- David Briginshaw (April 2005). "Work starts on link to Bangkok's new airport". International Railway Journal.
- "Removing 25 unusable Hopewell pillars to make way for the Airport Link". Prachachat Thurakij. November 18, 2004.
- "รถไฟฟ้าด่วนเปิดเส้นทางใหม่ พญาไท – สุวรรณภูมิ พร้อมแถมเที่ยวเดินทางอีก 1 เที่ยวฟรี". State Railway of Thailand. Retrieved 9 May 2011.
- Agents, airlines blame SRT for poor rail link service, THE NATION, August 8, 2011
- “แอร์พอร์ตลิงก์” ยันไม่มีปัญหาขาดแคลนอะไหล่ ปลดล็อกจอดรับส่งที่มักกะสัน, The Manager Online, 14 February 2012
- "Bangkok Desiro deliveries begin". Railway Gazette International. September 10, 2007.
-  แอร์พอร์ตลิงก์ชงบอร์ดซื้อรถใหม่ 7 ขบวน 4.2พันล้าน เตรียมเข็นล็อตแรกปี57, Pracha News, 16 May 2012