Bangkok airport train completes first test run

With Bangkok's airport rail link nearing completion, prominent Thai figures have travelled in the first test train on the line.

The Minister of Transport, Sophon Zarum, and the chairman of the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), Youtdana Tupcharoen, were among those onboard for the first trip on 12 February. In the course of this year, the light rail transit line will connect the city centre and Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport.

The multiple-unit express train is based on the Desiro UK built by Siemens. In 2005, SRT placed an order with Siemens Mobility and two Thai companies - B Grimm Group and Sino Thai Engineering and Construction (Stecon) - to build the rail link.

The project involved the construction of a new 28km-long route and a station in the city centre. Siemens and B Grimm were responsible for developing, supplying and installing the entire electrical and mechanical parts of the project. This included track construction, vehicles, signaling systems, the power supply, a communication system, fare management, tunnel equipment, depot and workshop equipment, check-in systems and baggage management.

Most of the line is elevated, with just under 1km underground. The Suvarnabhumi Airport Express will run non-stop on the 25.7km route between the airport and the capital.

The Suvarnabhumi Airport City Line, which runs on the same tracks, is 28.5km long and extends further into the inner city. It has six scheduled stops and ends at Phaya Thai Station, where passengers can transfer to the Bangkok Skytrain.

The first of a total of five City Line trains have already completed successful test runs at a maximum speed of 160km/h. These took place on January 18, 2009, between Klong Ton Depot and Suvarnabhumi Airport Station, just one day after the 69V traction substation and the 25kV overhead catenary line had been energised successfully.

The system will be officially handed over to the State Railway of Thailand when further system tests and system integration tests have been carried out.

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