Rail transport in Bangkok

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Rail transport was introduced to Bangkok in 1893, and the national railway network was developed during the 20th century. Rapid transit in Bangkok includes several rail lines: the BTS Skytrain, MRT and Airport Rail Link.


Bangkok's first rail line was the private Paknam Railway linking Bangkok to Samut Prakan which opened in 1893. The national railway network was subsequently developed and first opened in 1896, linking Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima and then expanding to reach Chiang Mai, Nong Khai, Ubon Ratchathani and Su-ngai Kolok.

Electric trams served the city from 1894 to 1968. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, King Rama V eagerly built a tram network for Bangkok by employing foreign engineers and technicians, especially Danish engineers. However, due to a lack of interest and maintenance, the tram network was completely scrapped in 1968.

Although proposals for the development of rapid transit in Bangkok had been made since 1975,[1] leading to plans for the failed Lavalin Skytrain, it was only in 1999 that Thailand's first rapid transit system, the BTS Skytrain, began operation.

The underground MRT subsequently opened in 2004, and the Airport Rail Link began operation in 2010.

Inter-city and commuter rail[edit]

Bangkok is the location of Hua Lamphong Railway Station, the main terminus of the national rail network operated by the State Railway of Thailand (SRT). Trains travelling on the Northern Line to Chiang Mai, the Northeastern Line to Nong Khai and Ubon Ratchathani, and the Eastern Line to Aranyaprathet originate at the station, and so do some trains of the Southern Line, which terminates at Su-ngai Kolok and has a connection to Malaysia (the other Southern terminus is Thonburi). In addition to long-distance services, the SRT also operates a few daily commuter trains running from and to the outskirts of the city during the rush hour, but passenger numbers have remained low.

Rapid transit[edit]

Bangkok is currently served by three rapid transit systems: the elevated BTS Skytrain, the underground and elevated MRT and the elevated Airport Rail Link.

System Began operation Lines in operation Lengths in operation Stations in operation Operators
BTSbangkok.svg BTS Skytrain 1999 2 51.69 km (32.12 mi)[2] 44[2] BTSC under concession from BMA
MRT (Bangkok) logo.svg MRT 2004 2 44 km (27 mi) 35[3] BEM under concession from MRTA
ARLbangkok.svg  ARL  Airport Rail Link 2010 1 28.6 km (17.8 mi) 8 SRT


The Skytrain consists of two lines, totalling 34.7 kilometres (21.6 mi): Sukhumvit Line running southwards from Mo Chit Station in Chatuchak District along Phahon Yothin Road and then eastwards along Sukhumvit Road to Samrong Station in Samut Prakan. The Silom Line runs eastwards from National Stadium Station in Pathum Wan District, then southwest along Ratchadamri, Si Lom, Narathiwat Ratchanakharin and Sathon Roads, crossing the Chao Phraya passing Wong Wian Yai Station in Khlong San towards Bang Wa Station in Phasi Charoen District. Both lines are elevated, and interchange at Siam Station in Pathum Wan. Construction is ongoing to extend the eastern end of the Sukhumvit Line 11.4km to Kheha Samut Prakan. This extension will open in December 2018.

MRT (Metro)[edit]

Bangkok mass transit map as of 2016.

The underground MRT system opened in July 2004, and currently consists of two lines, the Blue Line and Purple Line. The Blue Line runs for 20 kilometres (12 mi) from Tao Poon Station in a southward arc through the east along Ratchadaphisek Road, terminating at Hua Lamphong, where it connects to the central railway station. It has eighteen stations, and connects to the BTS system at BTS stations Mo Chit, Asok, and Sala Daeng. The Blue Line is being extended to form a circle, with a western portion along Charansanitwong Road on the western side of the city, and continuing further west to Bang Khae. The Purple Line opened in 2016.

Although initial passenger numbers were low and their service area remains limited to the inner city, these systems have become indispensable to many commuters. The BTS reported an average of 392,167 daily trips in 2010, while the MRT had 178,334 passenger trips per day. However, relatively high fare prices have kept these systems inaccessible to a portion of the population.

Airport Rail Link[edit]

The Airport Rail Link, opened in August 2010 after many delays, connects the city centre to Suvarnabhumi Airport in Samut Prakan Province to the east. It is operated by the SRT, and offers services between the airport and Makkasan where it connects with Phetchaburi Station of the MRT. It terminates at Phaya Thai Station, where it connects to the BTS. Its eight stations span a distance of 28 kilometres (17 mi).

Lines in operation[edit]

Line System Stations Length Terminus Daily ridership Began operation
Initial part Last extension
 BTS  Sukhumvit Line BTS Skytrain 31[2] 37.02 km (23.00 mi)[2] Mo ChitKheha[2] combined
1999 2018[2]
 BTS  Silom Line 13 14.67 km (9.12 mi) National StadiumBang Wa 2013
 MRT  Blue Line Metropolitan Rapid Transit (MRT) 19[5] 21.2 km (13.2 mi)[5] Hua LamphongTao Poon[5] 360,000[6] 2004 2017[5]
 MRT  Purple Line 16 23 km (14 mi) Khlong Bang PhaiTao Poon 50,000[7] 2016 -
ARLbangkok.svg  ARL  Airport Rail Link Airport Rail Link 8 28.6 km (17.8 mi) Phaya ThaiSuvarnabhumi 65,000 2010 -
Total 124.49 km (77.35 mi)

Future expansion[edit]

The entire Mass Rapid Transit Master Plan in Bangkok Metropolitan Region consists of eight main lines and four feeder lines totalling 508 kilometres (316 mi) to be completed by 2029.

Extensions to the Sukhumvit Line to the east and north, and the MRT Blue Line are currently under construction. All are due for completion between 2018 to 2020. New lines under construction are the SRT Dark Red grade-separated commuter rail line to Rangsit, the MRT Orange Line and two MRT monorail lines - the MRT Pink Line and the MRT Yellow Line - which both commenced construction in 2017.

Rolling stock[edit]

Line Class Manufacturers Manufactured in
   Sukhumvit Line

   Silom Line

Siemens Modular Metro Siemens Mobility  Austria
Siemens Inspiro  Turkey
Bombardier Movia Changchun Railway Vehicles  China
   Blue Line Siemens Modular Metro Siemens Mobility  Austria
Siemens Inspiro  Turkey
   Airport Rail Link Siemens Desiro Class 360 Siemens Mobility  Germany
   Purple Line J-TREC Sustina Japan Transport Engineering Company  Japan
   Red Lines Hitachi Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
   Pink Line

   Yellow Line

Bombardier Innovia Monorail 300 Bombardier Transportation

CRRC Nanjing Puzhen

   Gold Line Bombardier Innovia APM 300

Ticketing and fare rates[edit]

MRT Blue line[edit]

There are many types of stored value cards separated by passengers’ age. Elder card is for over 65 years olds and provides 50% discount from the full fare. Student card is for under 23 years olds and provides 10% discount from the full fare. Child card is for under 14 years olds and under 120 cm tall and provides 50% discount from the full fare. Adult card is for everyone doesn’t provide any discount from the full fare.

The fare rates are counted by the number of stations, starting from 16 Baht for a station, increasing by 2-3 Baht for each station up to 42 Baht for 17 stations.[8]

MRT Purple line[edit]

Use the stored value cards as MRT blue line. The fare rates start from 15 Baht for a station, increasing 1 Bath for each station up to 29 Baht for 15 stations.[9]

For the passengers that don’t have cards, the fare rates start from 17 Baht for a station, increasing 2-3 Baht for each station, then reach the maximum values at 42 Baht for 11 stations.[10]

Airport Rail Link[edit]

For the city line, the fare rates start from 15 Baht for a station, increase 5 Baht for each station up to 45 Baht for 7 stations.[11]


BTS has its own stored value cards called “Rabbit card”. There are 3 types of Rabbit card: adult, student, and senior, with 100 Baht initial stored value.[12]

The fare rates for BTS are quite complicated. Passengers can calculate their fare by using the BTS web service

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Rujopakarn, Wiroj (October 2003). "Bangkok transport system development: what went wrong?". Journal of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies. 5: 3302–15.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "BTSสายสีเขียว เชื่อมแบริ่ง -สมุทรปราการ". Thansettakij. 2016-07-14. Archived from the original on 2016-11-26. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  3. ^ "BEM ฉลุย! บอร์ด รฟม.เคาะเดินรถสีน้ำเงิน ลดต้นทุนกว่าประมูล-เตรียมขายซองสายสีส้ม 1 ก.ค.นี้". Manager Online. Retrieved 2016-12-11.
  4. ^ ฐานเศรษฐกิจ (17 May 2016). "BTSเทหมื่นล้านซื้อรถไฟฟ้าล็อตใหญ่ ชี้ผู้โดยสารทะลุ9แสนเที่ยวคน/วัน". thansettakij.com. Retrieved 11 December 2016.
  5. ^ a b c d "อีก42วันเปิดเตาปูน-บางซื่อ ได้นั่งยาว'รถไฟฟ้าหลากสี'". เดลินิวส์ฉบับพิมพ์. 4 July 2017. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  6. ^ "BEM to buy 35 more Blue Line trains". Bangkok Post. Bangkok. 15 September 2017.
  7. ^ "Purple Line use up 47% since 'missing link' completed". Bangkok Post. Bangkok. 8 September 2017.
  8. ^ "Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited". www.bangkokmetro.co.th. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  9. ^ "Bangkok Expressway and Metro Public Company Limited". www.bangkokmetro.co.th. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  10. ^ "เอาตารางราคา ค่าโดยสารรถไฟฟ้าสายสีม่วงมาให้ดูครับ (จากแผ่นพับ)". Pantip (in Thai). Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  11. ^ Rotfaithai.Com. "Rotfaithai.Com Forums-viewtopic-แอร์พอร์ต เรล ลิงค์เตรียมให้บริการระบบเช็คอินและขนส่งสัมภาระแล้ว". portal.rotfaithai.com. Retrieved 2017-05-04.
  12. ^ "About Rabbit Card". Rabbit. Retrieved 2017-05-04.

External links[edit]