Siemens Modular Metro on the Blue Line, the first line of the MRT system
|Owner||Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand|
|Locale||Bangkok Metropolitan Region|
|Transit type||Heavy rail |
(and monorail (planned))
|Number of lines|| , 2 in operation|
,4 under construction)
|Number of stations||53|
|Daily ridership||470,000 (Oct 2019)|
|Annual ridership||92.4 million (in 2014)|
|Began operation||3 July 2004|
|Operator(s)||Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited (SET: BEM)|
|Number of vehicles|
19 three-car trains
Siemens Modular Metro
35 three-car trains
21 three-car trains
|System length||70.6 km (43.9 mi); 229 km (planned)|
|Track gauge||1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge|
|Top speed||80 km/h (50 mph)|
The Metropolitan Rapid Transit or MRT is a mass rapid transit system serving the Bangkok Metropolitan Region in Thailand. The MRT system comprises two Medium-capacity rail system rail lines, with a further three lines (one heavy rail line and two monorail lines) currently under construction and due to open in 2021. The MRT Blue Line, officially the Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line, between Hua Lamphong and Bang Sue was the first to open in 2004 as Bangkok's second metro system. The MRT Blue line is officially known in Thai as rotfaifa mahanakhon (รถไฟฟ้ามหานคร) or "metropolitan electric train", but it is more commonly called rotfai taidin (รถไฟใต้ดิน), literally, "underground train".
The second MRT line MRT Purple Line, officially the Chalong Ratchadham Line, opened on 6 August 2016 and connected Tao Poon with Khlong Bang Phai in Nonthaburi in the northwest of Greater Bangkok. It was the first mass transit line to extend outside Bangkok province, Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
Both the Blue Line and Purple Line are operated by the Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited (BEM) under a concession granted by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) which is the owner of the MRT lines. Along with the BTS Skytrain and the Airport Rail Link, the MRT is part of Bangkok's rail transportation infrastructure. The two MRT lines have 470,000 passengers each day (Blue line 400,000 & Purple line 70,000) with 45 operational stations and a combined route length of 60 kilometers (37 mi).
From mid 2011, construction began to extend the MRT Blue Line with an extension west from Hua Lamphong via Tha Phra to Lak Song, and in the north from Bang Sue to Tha Phra . When fully completed by April 2020, the Blue Line will become a fake loop line (providing interchange with itself at Tha Phra) around the centre of Bangkok. The first section of the MRT Blue Line extension from Hua Lamphong via Tha Phra to Lak Song opened for full operation on 29 September 2019.
Other MRT lines are planned for the future MRT system with the MRT Orange Line, MRT Pink Line and MRT Yellow Line all currently under construction. An extension of the MRT Purple Line south from Tao Poon to Rat Burana is due to be tendered in April 2020. and the MRT Brown Line has been approved by the MRT Board and is planned to be tendered in late 2020.
The MRT was constructed under a concession framework. For the first MRT line, officially known as Chaloem Ratchamongkhon or informally as the "Blue Line", civil infrastructure was provided by the government sector, Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), and handed over to their concessionaire under a 25-year concession agreement. Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited (BEM) was the only private sector company that won a bid in MRTA's concession contract for the blue line. As MRTA's concessionaire, BEM provides M&E equipment, including electrical trains, signalling systems, SCADA, communication, PSD, etc. for the subway project and fully operates the system. To maintain the system, BEM has subcontracted in 10 years to Siemens which was the M&E system supplier since system opening and 7 years maintenance contract to two local maintenance services for north and south line.
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 period of several weeks starting on 13 April 2004. On 3 July 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. From 2006 until 2008, fares ranged between 14-36 baht per trip. The fare was raised to 16-41 Baht on 1 January 2009. Daily ridership in 2014 was 253,000.
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 passageways (generally four) which allow passengers to connect to any corner of the adjacent surface intersection. Passageways between exits are very spacious and some are beginning to open as malls. 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 all platforms. Currently 19 three-car metro trains, of the Siemens Modular Metro type, are used. Each metro train consists of two motor cars and a centre trailer car.
The ticketing system uses RFID contactless technology with round tokens issued for single trips and a contactless stored value card, the MRT Plus card, for frequent travellers. It is planned that a joint ticketing system will be set up so that passengers can use a single ticket on the MRT 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. The turnstiles accept cards or tokens, both available from a manned booth or automated ticket machines.
Smart cards are available in two types:
- A rechargeable card for distance-based fares:
- for adults, at the same rate as single fares
- for students, not over 23 years old, at 10% discount
- for children/elderly, not over 14 old and height between 91–120 cm, or not less than 60 old, each with 50% discount.
Children under 15 or whose height does not exceed 90 cm may ride for free. Reduced fares for older children and half price fares for the elderly also apply when buying a token at the booth.
The first line, the Blue Line, opened on 3 July 2004. It runs eastward from Tao Poon Station in Bang Sue District along Kamphaeng Phet, Phahon Yothin and Lat Phrao Roads, then turns south following Ratchadaphisek Road, then west following Rama IV Road to Hua Lamphong Station in Pathum Wan District. The second line, the Purple Line opened on 6 August 2016. The 1.2 km missing link of the Blue Line between Bang Sue and Tao Poon, connecting the two lines opened on 11 August 2017. The first section of the Blue Line extension from Hua Lamphong via Tha Phra to Lak Song opened for full operation on 29 September 2019.
|Line||Stations||Length [km]||Length [mi]||Terminus||Daily ridership||Began operation|
|Initial part||Last extension|
|MRT Blue Line||38||47||29||Lak Song ↔ Tha Phra (via Bang Sue)||400,000||2004||2020|
|MRT Purple Line||16||23.6||14.7||Khlong Bang Phai ↔ Tao Poon||70,000||2016||-|
- The interchange station is counted as a station (Tha Phra Station).
The Blue Line presently runs from Tha Phra to Lak Song 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 connect to the Skytrain at Si Lom, Sukhumvit and Chatuchak Park stations. The Blue Line has a large depot located on the large MRTA Headquarters in Huai Khwang district and accessed via a spur line located between Phra Ram 9 and Thailand Cultural Centre stations.
The 48-kilometer-long MRT Blue line will serve as a circle line for Bangkok's metro rail system, providing connections to all other major lines, including the SRT Red Lines and the Airport Rail Link. However the complete track does not form a circle, but rather a figure 6. So to ride the complete circle one has either to start at Tha Phra or change trains there.
The Purple line is divided into two sections, the first 23 kilometer stage from Khlong Bang Phai - Tao Poon which opened on 6 August 2016, and a planned 19.8 kilometer southern extension from Tao Poon - Phra Pradaeng.
The Purple line currently serves travel demand between the northwestern suburbs of Bangkok in Nonthaburi Province to the mid north areas of Bangkok where it links with the Blue line. Eventually, the line will link with the southern area of Thonburi in Phra Pradaeng District, Samut Prakan Province with a southern extension. This extension will serve the new Thai parliament construction site at Kiak Kai intersection and will run along Samsen Road, then passing through the historic old quarter of Bangkok Rattanakosin Island and many historical places in Dusit and Phra Nakhon District like the national library, Thewet market, Bang Lamphu, the Democracy Monument, the Golden Mount, Phahurat near Chinatown. It then runs near the Memorial Bridge over the river to Wongwian Yai roundabout before continuing south to Chom Thong and ends in Rat Burana District.
If construction commences in 2020, the southern extension should open in 2025.
|Line||Proposed opening||Terminal||Length [km]||Length [mile]||Stations||Status|
|Unknown||Lak Song||Phutthamonthon Sai 4||8||5.0||5||Approved|
|2026||Tao Poon||Khru Nai||23.6||14.7||17||Approved. Tender in 2020?|
( Heavy rail)
|2023 (Eastern section)||Thailand Cultural Centre||Yaek Rom Klao||22.5||14.0||17||Under construction|
|2025 (Western extension)||Bang Khun Non||Thailand Cultural Centre||13.4||8.3||13||Approved. Tender in July 2020|
|2022||Nonthaburi Civic Center||Min Buri||34.5||21.4||30||Under construction|
|2025||Nonthaburi Civic Center||Lam Sali||22||14||20||Approved. Tender in early 2021|
The Blue line forms a lariat-shaped loop encircling the city.
It is eventually planned that the combined route distance of all MRT lines covering major areas of Bangkok will be total of 171 km. This comprises 94 km for the 3 heavy rail lines and 77 km for the 3 monorail lines.
Blue Line extension
- Bang Sue – Bang Phlat – Tha Phra (opened December 2019). It starts from Bang Sue Station, passing along Pracharat Sai 2 Road. It crosses Chao Phraya River and turns left along Charansanitwong Road until it reaches Tha Phra at Phetkasem and Charansanitwong intersection. The length is 13.1 km with 7 elevated stations.
- Hua Lamphong – Tha Phra – Lak Song (opened 29 September 2019). From Hua Lamphong Station it goes along Charoen Krung Road, passes Wat Mangkon Station, Sam Yot Station, and then turns left at Wat Pho before crossing under the Chao Phraya River at Pak Khlong Talat. Passing through Itsaraphap, it finally enters Phetkasem Road and ends at Lak Song. After 4 underground stations, starting from Tha Phra the line becomes elevated for 6 stations. The length is 13.9 km. with 8.9 km elevated station and 4.8 km underground stations.
- Lak Song to Phutthamonthon Sai 4 - 7.8 km, 4 station elevated extension (approved by Cabinet and planned for tender in 2019).
The planned southern extension from Tao Pun - Rat Burana will run south through Bangkok's old quarter from Tao Pun junction on a viaduct. It then will go into an underground structure along Sam Sen Road, passing the new Thai parliament site, and transfers to the proposed Red inner-city shortcut commuter at Sanghi intersection. It passes the national library in Dusit District before it reaches Phra Nakhon District at Thewet Market.
The line turns east at Bang Lamphu and goes along the city moat to the south, with transfers possible to the MRT Orange Line at Ratchadamnoen Road near the Democracy Monument. It passes Golden Mount before possible transfers to the extension of the Blue Line at Wang Burapha near Yaowarat Road in Chinatown and the Phahurat textile market.
The line crosses the Chao Phraya River near the Memorial Bridge towards the Wongwian Yai roundabout in Thonburi on the west bank, with possible transfers to the Dark Red Line commuter and to Wongwian Yai. It continues south to Chom Thong, then on an elevated structure for 5.5 kilometres (3.4 mi) and ends in Rat Burana District, a short distance to the nearby Phra Pradaeng suburban town in Samut Prakan Province. The total length will be about 23.6 km, including ten underground and seven elevated stations.
The Cabinet was expected to approve the Purple Line Southern extension in mid 2017 with a tender due in the 2nd half of 2017. On 25 July 2017, the Cabinet approved the 101 billion baht budget and tender for the extension. However, the tender was delayed until 2018 due to land acquisition issues. A further delay as the TOR for the now PPP has resulted in a new early 2019 planned tender. However, this has been further delayed is now due to be tendered in April 2020. If construction commences in the second half of 2020, the extension should open in 2026.
The Orange Line will start from Min Buri as elevated structure on Ramkhamhaeng Road (former Suka Phiban III Road) from eastern suburb in Min Buri District and goes underground near Lam Sali intersection in Bang Kapi District, also transfers to MRT Yellow Line. It continues southwest along Ramkhamhaeng Road, passing Hua Mak Stadium and Ramkhamhaeng University. Then it turns to the west and crosses Pradit Manutham Road to the current MRT depot. Then it goes to Thailand Cultural Centre Station, the alignment crosses over and transfers to the current MRT Blue Line. It continues via Din Daeng housing estates and Bangkok City Hall 2 to Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Sam Liam Din Daeng Junction. Then turn left into Ratchaprarop Road towards Pratunam and turn right into Phetchaburi Road then interchange with BTS Sukhumvit Line at Ratchathewi Station. It continues along Larn Luang Road and Ratchadamnoen Road. Then it crosses the Chao Phraya River near Phra Pinklao Bridge, passes Siriraj Hospital and goes along Bangkok Noi Rail line and terminates at Bang Khun Non Station, interchanges with MRT Blue Line again. The total length is 35.9 km.
This Line is divided into 2 sections
- Eastern section from Thailand Cultural Centre - Min Buri (22.5 km).
- Western section Bang Khun Non - Thailand Cultural Centre (13.4 km)
The phase 1 Eastern section began construction in June 2017 with a planned October 2022 opening. The Phase 2 Western section extension from Thailand Cultural Centre to Bang Khun Non was released for tender on 3 July 2020 as a Public-Private Partnership project.
When fully completed, the line will be 35.9-km long, mostly underground, with 29 stations (7 elevated stations for 8.9 km and other 22 underground stations for 27 km).
The 35.5 km long Pink line will have 30 stations and will be a monorail line. It will run in the northern part of the city from east Bangkok in Minburi District (also transfers to MRT Orange Line) along Ram Inthra Road to west Bangkok (Pak Kret district, Nonthaburi Province) Chaeng Watthana Road and Tiwanon Road ending at The Nonthaburi Civic Center which transfer to the MRT Purple Line.
The Pink line was due to be tendered in the 3rd quarter of 2013 with construction due to commence in early 2014. However, delays in preparation of the tender in relation to the selection of monorail rolling stock and subsequent political protests resulting in a snap national election in early Feb 2014, further delayed the Pink Line tender. A subsequent coup in May 2014 resulted in a new military administration and the tender being deferred for 2014. The MRTA tender was subsequently not released until mid-2016.
In early December 2016, BSR Joint Venture (comprising BTS Group Holdings which owns 75%, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction - STEC, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generation Holding - RATCH), won the bid. The BSR also won the bid for the Yellow Line project.  On 16 June 2017, the Pink Line project contracts were signed with the BSR consortium by the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand with a scheduled operational date of 2022.  Construction of the MRT Pink Line began in late 2017 and the line is due to be operational in 2022.
The 30.4 km long Yellow line will have 23 stations. It was originally proposed to be an underground and elevated heavy rail line. However, it will now be built as an elevated monorail line.
In Dec 2011, the MRTA was instructed by the MOT to divide the Yellow Line into two Phases for tender and construction purposes and to control land appropriation costs. In June 2012, the MRTA contracted consultants to undertake detailed designs of the Yellow Line. In Feb 2013, OTP stated that the tender for the Yellow line should be ready by late 2013 for tender in early 2014 However, similar to the Pink Line, delays in finalising the technical requirements of the tender in relation to the selection of monorail rolling stock which determines the type of track to be constructed resulted in a significant delay. The subsequent political turmoil of 2014 caused further delay. Thereafter, the coup of May 2014 resulted in a new military administration and the tender being deferred for 2014.
The MRTA tender was subsequently not released until mid-2016. In early December 2016, BSR Joint Venture (comprising BTS Group Holdings which owns 75%, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction - STEC, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generation Holding - RATCH), won the bid for the project. The BSR also won the bid the Pink Line project.  On June 16, 2017 a contract was signed for the Lat Phrao-Samrong section with the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand by a consortium including BTS Group Holdings, Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction, and Ratchaburi Electricity Generation Holding. Construction of the MRT Yellow Line began in March 2018, it is scheduled to be operational in 2022.
The line was originally proposed as the Gold Line by the Pheu Thai party for the Bangkok Governors election held in March 2013. This was in response to objections by Kasetsart University to long proposed Expressway extensions in the area. The line would essentially have replaced the need to build an elevated Expressway. However, the Pheu Thai candidate did not win the Bangkok Governor election and the Gold Line was dropped with the Deputy Minister of Transport stating that land appropriation costs were too high. Subsequently, OTP has reworked the Gold Line proposal into a new Brown Line following much the same route. As of June 2013, the route was under preliminary study by OTP. Public hearings on the Brown line were held in 2017. The MOT announced that a 14-month feasibility study into the line would be completed in 2018. By August 2018, OTP had completed the feasibility study and conducted public hearings. Although, there was much public support for building the MRT Brown line, public opposition to the N2 expressway remained high. OTP intends to submit the project for Cabinet approval by the end of October 2018. In early June 2019, the MRTA Board approved the investment plan for the Brown Line and integrated design with the N2 Expressway conducted by EXAT. The project is expected to tendered in 2020.
Major accident record
On 17 January 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 MRT 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 shortly before the accident, grinding to a halt on a curve leading to the depot. The driver applied the train brake and was waiting to be towed to the maintenance centre close to the Thailand Cultural Centre station.
A rescue train was attempting to connect to the stalled train when the driver was told to release the brake even though coupling had not been successful. It was then that the empty train began to roll backwards at a speed of ten metres per second and into the other train, which was carrying passengers. Therefore, it was believed that the incident was caused by negligence due to insufficient training of operation staff. This accident caused damage to both trainsets, with heavily damaged areas limited to the two cars that collided. From the extent of the damage, investigators estimated the collision speed to be around 60 km/h. However, one train, which was rebuilt 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; it was released into service in October, 2007. The cost resulting from the accident might be a much higher figure than BMCL quoted, and it was expected to be at least 400 million baht, which was totally insured by a local insurance company.
The Metro resumed full operation on 1 February 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 (~US$0.33).
The first few years of operations saw less than forecast ridership, but pax numbers grew gradually over time. After the opening of the Tao Poon interchange station between Blue Line and Purple Line in mid-August 2017, ridership immediately increased especially on the Purple Line. In September 2017, BEM stated that average daily ridership of the Blue Line had increased from 340,000 to 360,000 after the opening. The Purple line ridership significantly increased from 33,000 to nearly 50,000. In August 2018, the MRTA Deputy Governor stated that daily ridership for the Purple Line had increased to 60,000 each weekday. After the opening of the Blue Line extension to Lak Song on 29 September 2019, daily ridership increased to 400,000 for the Blue line and 70,000 for the Purple line.
|Year||Total ridership||Average daily ridership|
|2017 (Jan - Apr)||34,422,000||287,000|
- BTS Skytrain
- Sukhumvit line
- Silom line
- Airport Rail Link (Bangkok)
- SRT Red Lines
- Bangkok BRT
- Lists of rapid transit systems
- List of rapid transit stations in Bangkok
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- "Bangkok Metro Public Corporation Annual Report 2014" (PDF). 2015. p. 6. Archived from the original (pdf) on 2015-10-01. Retrieved 2016-01-07.
- "Siemens delivers trains for Bangkok Blue Line extension". International Railway Journal. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
- Member meeting with MRTA planning division on 7 August 2019 at MTRA Headquarters
- "Bangkok Metro, Thailand". Railway-Technology.com. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "Single ticket for city transport". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 2016-09-11.
- M.R.T. Chaloem Ratchamongkhon Line Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand. 2019
- THE BLUE LINE Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand. 2019
- https://www.khaosod.co.th/economics/news_2933591. Khaosod ,30 September 2019
- http://www.bangkokpost.com/archive/b358bn-rail-projects-expected-to-go-ahead/1256406. Bangkok Post, 26 May 2017
- https://www.bangkokpost.com/archive/purple-line-south-link-bid-faces-delay/1357647. Bangkok Post, 10 Nov 2017
- https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/transport/1541274/tor-for-slate-of-transport-projects-set-for-fast-track. Bangkok Post, 17 September 2018
- Members meeting with MRTA planning division on 7 August 2019 at MTRA Headquarters
- "MRT Orange Line extension tender". MRTA Website. 3 July 2020.
- "Cabinet to mull rail projects" Bangkok Post, 26 Feb 2013
- ""Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-16. Retrieved 2014-07-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)"
- "BSR Joint venture wins rights for Bangkok's Yellow, Pink line MRTA construction". Bangkok Post. 7 December 2016.
- "Pink and Yellow Lines construction contracts signed, operational in 2020". Thai PBS. 17 June 2017.
- "Junta to call bids for most infra projects - The Nation". The Nation. Retrieved 2017-06-17.
- แจ้งเกิดรถไฟฟ้า2สาย สุกำพลเครื่องร้อน. ThanOnline (in Thai). 27 December 2011. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- สนข.เร่งสร้างรถไฟฟ้า ฟุ้งปี56ได้ใช้ตั๋วร่วมแน่. Thaipost (in Thai). 11 February 2013. Archived from the original on 16 December 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "Kasetsart backs light rail move". Bangkok Post. 12 February 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "City expressway plan redrawn to go north". Bangkok Post. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 2014-06-27.
- "Govt mulls Brown Line feeder route to connect rail network". Bangkok Post. 27 July 2017.
- "Monorail plan heads to cabinet". Bangkok Post. 24 August 2018.
- "Thai subway shut for safety probe". BBC News. 17 January 2005. Retrieved 2010-05-13.
- "Purple Line use up 47% since 'missing link' completed". Bangkok Post. Bangkok. 8 September 2017.
- http://www.thansettakij.com/content/309472. Thansettakij, 27 August 2018
- Shareinvestor. "Investor Relations". investor.bemplc.co.th. Retrieved 2017-05-31.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Bangkok Metro.|
- Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand
- Bangkok MRT Master Plan - Office of Transport and Traffic Policy Planning
- Bangkok Metro Company Limited