Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Skytrain (Thai รถไฟฟ้าบีทีเอส) is the elevated metro system in Bangkok, Thailand, operated by 'Bangkok Mass Transit System Public Company Limited (BTSC) under a concession granted by the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA). The Skytrain, officially known as BTS, was opened on December 5, 1999 by HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhon with 23 stations along 2 lines. The Sukhumvit line (light green) runs northwards and eastwards, terminating at Mo Chit and On Nut respectively; meanwhile, the Silom line (dark green) plies Silom and Sathon, the Central Business District of Bangkok, terminating at the National Stadium and Saphan Taksin . Both lines interchange at Siam station and have a combined route distance of 23 km. The Skytrain is sometimes known as รถไฟฟ้าเฉลิมพระเกียรติ 6 รอบ พระชนมพรรษา because it was first opened to the public on HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej's 72nd birthday.
Most stations are equipped with ramps and elevators which allow wheelchair-bound passengers to access the ticketing hall and platform from the street level. For security and safety, security personnels are stationed at each and every platform and at all ticketing halls. Fares are calculated according to distance for single-trip and store-value ticket holders, but adult / student / tourist passes for limited / unlimited train rides are also available. Although it currently uses magetic farecards, which require replacement once every 2 years, the Skytrain will be adopting RFID contactless technology in its ticketing system similar to those presently being used in the MRT. Three Skytrain stations, namely Sala Daeng, Asok and Mo Chit, serve as an interchange with the MRT. Saphan Takin station is connected to the adjacent Sathon pier where the all river services operated under the name of Chao Phraya Express Boat call. Skytrain stations stations such as National Stadium, Sala Daeng , Victory Monument , and Chit Lom are linked by 'Skybridges' (overhead pedestrian walkways) which conveniently connects the stations to neighbouring buildings and public amenities.
Initially, the system was referred as the Lavalin Skytrain because it was originally designed using the Vancouver SkyTrain as a model while adopting the technology developed by SNC Lavalin. Due to 'political interference', the project was cancelled in 1992 although Bangkok was already suffering from chronic traffic congestion. In its attempt to find the alternative solution, the Thai Government went on to build more roads and expressways in the capital. But as the car population rapidly increased, and due to poor town planning, the problem of road congestion remained severe.
In the early 1990s, foundations for the Lavalin Skytrain were added to the middle of two bridges spanning the Chao Phraya river. The ones at the Taksin bridge has now been used to build the extension of the Silom line to Thon Buri, which is likely to be completed by late 2006. Meanwhile, the ones at Phra Pokklao bridge remain unused but might possibly be utilised as part of the MRT's future Purple Line.
Shortly after the collapse of Lavalin Skytrain, Major-General Chamlong Srimuang, then the Bangkok Governor, revived the project with a slightly different route plan using the unrelated Siemens technology. The project therefore inherited the name 'Skytrain', and although it is currently an entirely elevated system, a certain section of its extended route which cuts through the historic Rattana Kosin island will be have to be underground based on the current proposal.
Originally, the skytrain depot was designated to be built below Lumphini Park, but due to widespread objection from Bangkok residents, it was later constructed on a parcel of land located along Th. Phahon Yothin, replacing the old Northern / Northeastern bus ternminal (Mo Chit). The current depot at Mo Chit is a part of the proposed 'Bangkok Terminal' project where a large complex comprising a new regional bus terminal, park & ride facility and other commercial development can be built directly above it.
Thanayong Public Company Limited (Thai บริษัท ธนายง จำกัด (มหาชน)) has a 28.21% stake in BTSC when the Skytrain began, and therefore in its early days, the system was sometimes referred to as the "Thanayong Skytrain".
- Mo Chit – interchange with the Metro (Chatuchak Park station)
- Saphan Khwai
- Sena Ruam (planned)
- Sanam Pao
- Victory Monument (Anusaowari Chai Samoraphum)
- Phaya Thai
- Siam – interchange with Silom Line
- Chit Lom
- Phloen Chit
- Asok – interchange the Metro (Sukhumvit station)
- Phrom Phong – for Benjasiri Park; The Emporium
- Thong Lo
- Ekkamai – for the Eastern Bus Terminal
- Phra Khanong
- On Nut
- National Stadium (Suphachalasai Stadium สนามกีฬาศุภชลาศัย) – for MBK Center
- Siam – interchange with Sukhumvit Line
- Sala Daeng – interchange with the Metro (Si Lom station)
- Chong Nonsi
- Sueksa Witthaya (planned)
- Saphan Taksin – with connection to the Chao Phraya Express Boat (Sathon pier)
Planned extensions to the Skytrain remain stalled. The viaduct for the extension to Thonburi is complete, but no permission has been received to lay rails on the viaduct or to build stations, while the extension to Samut Prakan has not been able to start construction despite nearly 10 years of planning.
The Thai press has alleged that the ruling Thai Rak Thai party is intentionally obstructing progress, since the Skytrain is partly controlled by the opposition Democrat Party-linked Ch. Karnchang group and has refused government initiatives to be nationalized. 
At present, construction is expected to begin as soon as the cabinet has amended a law which allow the private firm to only finance the cost of operating the train system while the government takes care of all the civil engineering works. Other route extensions for the Skytrain have also been discussed and the extension plan for the BTS can be summarised as follow:
- On Nut – Samrong (terminating at Sukhumvit Soi 119) – 8.9 km
- Saphan Taksin – Wong Wian Yai (terminating at Th. Somdet Chao Phraya) – 2.2 km
- Samrong – Samut Prakan – 7.9 km
- Wong Wian Yai – Bang Wa (terminating at Th. Phetchakasem) – 6.7 km
- National Stadium – Phran Nok (terminating at Th. Charan Sanit Wong) – 6.8 km
- Mo Chit – Saphan Mai – 12 km
It is estimated that most of the extension plans above will be completed by 2010 or 2012 at the latest. Note that these plans do not include the extensions proposed for the MRT.
Maps of the existing lines and 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
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