Update Sept. 17, 2019: Four new stations further down the extension: MRT Phetkasem 48, MRT Phasi Charoen, MRT Bang Khae, and MRT Lak Song will be opened on Sept. 21. The trains will run seamlessly along the whole Blue Line without having to transfer at MRT Hua Lamphong. Free test rides will operate from Sept. 21 to 29, before fares will be collected as usual. The trains will run from 5.30am to 11.05pm on weekdays and from 6am to 11.05pm on weekends.
Update: Two new stations further down the extension, MRT Bang Phai and MRT Bang Wa, will be opened on Aug. 24. MRT Bang Wa is connected to BTS Bang Wa on BTS Silom Line via skywalk.
BANGKOK — Going to Chinatown or Wat Pho will no longer be a hurdle when five new stations along the metro extension are opened to the public for test rides beginning next week.
The extension of the Blue Line MRT will stretch from the previous terminus at MRT Hua Lamphong to western suburbs in Bang Khae district. However, the test run will only run through five of the 11 stations along the extension, terminating at Tha Phra intersection in Bangkok Yai district.
Test rides will operate daily for free starting July 29, which is also the substitution for His Majesty the King’s birthday, until September 28, but will only run from 7am to 9pm. At MRT Hua Lamphong, passengers will have to transfer to another train to continue down the extension.
A new fleet of trains, the first batch of which was delivered in April from German manufacturer Siemens, will serve the new stations. Commuters should expect to wait up to eight minutes per train as only three train sets will participate in the test run.
Pakapong Sirikantaramas, governor of the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand, said a total of 35 new train sets have been ordered. He hopes the new fleet will ease the congestion and shorten waiting times by three to two minutes.
The line will stop at Wat Mangkon, Sam Yot, Sanam Chai, before running under the Chao Phraya River to Itsaraphap and then terminating at Tha Phra.
Four stations have been uniquely designed to reflect local history and blend in with surroundings.
MRT Sanam Chai, located in front of Museum Siam, is designed to resemble a Rattanakosin-style stateroom, while MRT Wat Mangkon in Chinatown blends a mix of Chinese and European architecture with a dragon motif.
The full service along the 80 billion baht extension is expected to commence on September 29.
Pakapong said he expects 30,000 passengers to participate in the first day of the test run, while the line can accommodate up to 500,000 passengers when all stations are operational.
In August, a new BTS station at Ladphrao Intersection will also be opened to the public. It is a part of Sukhumvit Line’s northern extension that will reach the northern suburbs of Khu Khot in Pathum Thani in 2020. The exact date has yet to be announced.