Bangkok Metro

Bangkok Metro

Infobox rail line
name = Bangkok Metro

image_width = 120px
caption = MRT Bangkok metro official logo.
type = Rapid transit
system = Bangkok Metro
status = 18 stations built and extension of 21 stations is planned.
locale = Bangkok, Thailand
start = Hua Lamphong
end = Bang Sue
stations = 18
routes =
ridership =
open = July 3, 2004
close =
owner =
operator = Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand
character = Underground
stock =
linelength = convert|21|km|mi|2|abbr=on|lk=on
tracklength =
notrack =
gauge =
el =
speed = convert|80|km|mi|2|abbr=on|lk=on
elevation =

The Bangkok Metro, officially called the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), is Bangkok's underground metro system. It was constructed under a concession concept. Mostly, all civil infrastructures were provided by government sector, Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) and handed over to their concessionaire under 25-year concession agreement. Bangkok Metro Company Limited (BMCL) is only one private sector that won a biding of MRTA's concession contract for blue line. As MRTA's concessionaire, BMCL provides M&E equipments, including electrical train, signalling system, SCADA, communication, PSD, etc, for the subway project and fully operates & maintains the system. The MRT line is officially known in Thai as "rotfaifah mahanakhon" (รถไฟฟ้ามหานคร) or "metropolitan electric train", but it is more commonly called "rotfai taidin" (รถไฟใต้ดิน), literally, "underground train". The metro has a fleet of 19 trains and the 19th train has already released to service since October, 2007 after a major accident.

Besides the MRT, Bangkok also has an elevated rail system called BTS or less officially the Skytrain.


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 upon which the city is built.

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 180,000 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. As of 2006, fares range between 14-36 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 80 km/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 about one metre 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 wheelchairs. Stations have multiple passage ways (generally four) which allow passengers to connect to any corner of the adjacent surface intersection. Maps depicting the local area and exit points are posted on the walls on the way out. Due to safety considerations, platform screen doors are installed. Uniformed security personnel and security cameras are present at each and every platform.

19 three-car metro trains are used, of the Siemens Modular Metro type. Each metro train consists of two motor cars and a centre trailer car. [cite web
title=Bangkok's first underground metro open
work=International Railway Journal
date=July, 2004

The ticketing system uses the RFID contactless technology with round black 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 station.

Major Accident Record

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 the Thailand Cultural Centre station. 140 people were hurt, most of whom 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 stalled train when the driver was told to release the brake while coupling had not yet been successful. It was then that the empty train began to roll backwards at a speed of ten metres per second, before smashing into the other train, which was carrying passengers. Therefore, it was believed that the incident was caused by negligence but the doubt on the training to their operation staff is still under public question mark. [] This accident also resulted in two damaged trains but the heavy damaged areas were limited in only two leading cars and colliding speed was suspected at near 60 km/hrs due to an appearance of damaged area. However, one train, which was configured from the repair of the minor-damaged cars, was already fitted for operation at the end of 2006 and the remaining one was still under heavy repair until mid of 2007 and it was released to service in October, 2007. The cost resulting from the accident might be a much higher figure than BMCL quoted, and it was expected at least 400 million baht, which was totally insured by a local insurance company and the accident was recorded as the most severe damage ever in any metro system in Thailand.

The Metro resumed full operation on February 1, 2005, and passenger numbers soon rose back to pre-crash levels, partly due to a temporary promotional fare scheme which allowed passengers to travel any distance on the MRT for only ten baht (~0.25 USD).

List of stations

Blue Line

Expansion plans

Various expansion plans of the Metro have been proposed, but as of 2008, construction work has not started on any. It is planned that, eventually, the combined route distance of the Metro alone will total 91 km with 3 Metro lines covering all of the major areas of Bangkok. The Blue line, once completely extended, will form a lariat-shaped loop that circles the city.

The initial expansion plan can be summarised as follows:
* 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 plans for the metro include:
* Yellow Line: Lat Phrao – Sri Nagarindra – Samut Prakan
* Brown Line:Bang Kapi – Ramkamheang Road – Saen Saep (10km)
* Pink Line:Saen Saep – Ram-Inthra Rd. ndash; Cheang Wattana Rd. – Tiwanon-Ngam Wong Wan Rd intersection. (35km)

Note that these plans do not include the extension proposed for the Skytrain, SRT Lines and airport link which is under control of State Railway Thailand. BMCL itself do expect to be the operator for extension project and others line but the final decision is still depended on MRTA (government sector).

ee also

* List of rapid transit systems
* Bangkok Skytrain
* BRT (Bangkok)
* SRT Lines
* Suvarnabhumi Airport Link


External links

Official sites

* [ Bangkok Metro Company Limited]
* [ Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand]

Unofficial sites

* [ Bangkok subway history at]
* [ Bangkok Mass Transit]
* [ The Modern Rail Based Mass Transit of Thailand] (MRT and BTS photos)


* Download [ the System Map of Bangkok Rail Transit Network] in PDF format
* Download [ the Master Plan of Bangkok Transport Network] in PDF format (includes proposed extensions)
* Download [ Unofficial Technical Data]

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