Commuters will finally be able to ride the rails into Bangkok’s north aboard trains plugged into the full transportation grid when the metropolitan area’s massive rail interchange opens in late July.
Five years behind schedule, the Red Line is expected to open July 28 for trial rides between Rangsit on the northern outskirts, Taling Chan to the west, and the Bang Sue Grand Station, a colossal cathedral of public transportation that will eventually tie together the city’s commuter rail lines and connect to the Mo Chit Bus Terminal.
Riding the Red Line will be free until November, Transportation Minister Saksayam Chidchob said. Test runs without passengers will begin March 26. Fares have yet to be finalized because of the usual disputes between transportation fiefdoms. The Red Line is operated not by the MRT or BTS operator but the deeply indebted state railway and consists of the Dark Red Line north to Rangsit and Light Red Line west Taling Chan.
The Bang Sue station will be the largest in all of ASEAN when it opens and able to accommodate and maintain both electric and diesel trains. It replaces the Bangkok Railway Station, aka Hua Lamphong, which will become a museum in November after over a century of operation. Spread over 300,000sqm, it will serve as a connecting point for the Airport Rail Link, the Red and Blue rail lines, as well as the high-speed lines under construction outside the capital.