Update: The MRT Blue Line extension rolls out Monday, July 29!
Slide at speed under Bangkok’s Chinatown and Chao Phraya River for free when – maybe “if” – the latest announced opening date comes to pass.
The Mass Rapid Transit Authority announced today that it began testing the line last week with a goal of launching a free pilot service to the public on July 29. Only five of the 11 new stations coming online will be in service when the new extension comes online, 15 years after the subway system opened.
Free rides to MRT Tha Phra and stations in between will require changing trains at MRT Hua Lamphong during the trial period. After that, the authority said new stations will be brought online one at a time following a similar trial period. The goal is to have the full 14-kilometer extension up and running in September.
That’s sweet relief to those who’ve banked on gentrification following the tracks into Yaowarat and other areas. It also means cruising to four stations which have been designed to be more than grey and blue. MRT Wat Mangkorn in Chinatown is inside a cool Sino-Portuguese structure; while MRT Sanam Chai, near Wat Pho and the Grand Palace; has a royal theme.
The pilot service will stop at the Wat Mangkon, Sam Yot, Sanam Chai, Itsaraphap and Tha Phra stations. No date was announced, and today’s declaration is the latest in a series of announced openings that never came to pass.
Elsewhere, test runs were conducted on the BTS Skytrain’s Sukhumvit Line extension through Lat Phrao with a goal of launching in August.