Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The Bangkok Metro, officially called the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), is Bangkok's underground metro system. It was constructed by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) and operated by Bangkok Metro Public Company Limited (BMCL) under a 25-year concession. The MRT is officially known in Thai as rot fai fah mahanakhon (รถไฟฟ้ามหานคร) or "metropolitan electric train", but it is more commonly called rot fai tai din (รถไฟใต้ดิน), literally, "underground train".
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 on which the city is built upon.
The Blue Line was opened for a limited public trial over several weeks starting April 13, 2004. On July 3, 2004 the line was officially opened at 19:19 local time by HM King Bhumibol and Queen Sirikit, 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 has settled down to around 200,000 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.
The 21-kilometer, 18-station Blue line presently runs from Bang Sue to Hua Lamphong via Phra Ram 9 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 which travel up to 80km/h. Passengers can conveniently connect to the Skytrain at Si Lom, Sukhumvit and Chatuchak Park stations. The metro has a large depot in Huai Khwang district, which is located between Phra Ram 9 and Thailand Cultural Centre stations. Considering that Bangkok is a low-lying plain which is prone to flooding, all of the Metro's station entrances are raised several metres above the ground level and are equipped with built-in floodgates in order to avoid water inundating the system. Lifts and ramps are found at all stations, providing easy access for passengers in wheelchair. Due to safety considerations, screen doors are installed and uniformed security personnels are employed at each and every platform.
The ticketing system uses the RFID contactless technology with round tokens issued for single trips and contactless stored value cards for frequent travellers. In the near future, a joint ticketing system will be set up so that passengers can use a single ticket on the Metro as well as on the Skytrain. Multi-storey park & ride facilities are provided at Lat Phrao and Thailand Cultural Centre. Motorists who park their cars at these premises will be issued with additional contactless smartcards and they need to have them electronically stamped at their destination staion.
On January 17, 2005, just after 09:15, an empty train returning to the depot collided with a peak-hour train filled with passengers at Thailand Cultural Centre station. 262 people were hurt, most of which 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 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 stricken when the driver was told to release the brake. It was then the empty train began to roll backwards at a speed of 10 metres per second before smashing into the other train that was loaded with passengers. Therefore, it was believed that the incident was caused by negligence. 
List of stations
- Bang Sue – for Phahon Yothin Railway Station and Bang Sue Junction
- Kamphaeng Phet – for Chatuchak Weekend Market; see Kamphaeng Phet province
- Chatuchak Park – for connection with the Skytrain (Mo Chit station)
- Phahon Yotin – for Central Plaza Lat Phrao
- Lat Phrao – with Park & Ride facility
- Huai Khwang
- Thailand Cultural Centre – with Park & Ride facility; interchange with the future "Orange Line"
- Phra Ram 9 – for Fortune Town
- Phetchaburi – see Phetchaburi province
- Sukhumvit – for connection with the Skytrain (Asok station)
- Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre – for the Stock Exchange of Thailand
- Khlong Toei
- Lumphini – for Suan Lum Night Bazaar
- Si Lom – interchange with the Skytrain (Sala Daeng station); for Lumphini Park
- Sam Yan – for Chulalongkorn University
- Hua Lamphong – for Hua Lamphong Railway Station
As indicated by the Thai Government, the Metro network will be continually expanded over the next 5 years in order to serve more commuters that reside in the suburbs. It is planned that, eventually, the combined route distance of the Metro alone will total 91km with 3 Metro lines covering all of the major areas of Bangkok. The Blue line, once completely extended, will form a lariat-shape loop that circles the city.
The initial expansion plan can be summarised as follow:
- Blue Line extension:
- Bang Sue – Bang Phlat – Tha Phra (13km)
- Hua Lamphong – Tha Phra – Bang Khae (14km)
- Orange Line: Bang Kapi – Sam Sen – Bang Bamru (24km)
- Purple Line: Bang Yai – Sam Sen – Rat Burana (40km)
Other expansion plan for the metro include:
Note that these plans do not include the extension proposed for the Skytrain.
Maps of the proposed extension plans
- Download the System Map of Bangkok Rail Transit Network in PDF format
- Download the Master Plan of Bangkok Transport Network in PDF format
- Bangkok Metro Company Limited
- Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand
- Unofficial Bangkok Subway site
- Bangkok Mass Transit
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