BANGKOK — Skytrain operators revealed Wednesday preliminary works quietly began on a new station in downtown Bangkok last month – over 20 years after plans were first announced.
A representative from BTS said the construction of Suksa Withaya station started in early March and estimated that it will be complete by October 2020, though a contractor in charge of the project declined to confirm that time-frame.
“Works already started on March 1 and will be complete 18 months from that date,” BTS public relations officer Sukunya Aungprateep said by phone. There was no formal news conference to mark the occasion, she added.
But online photos of leaflets distributed to locals said construction will last from May 2019 through December 2020. When questioned about the information, a contractor whose name was listed on the pamphlets said the date was not yet official.
“I cannot confirm it yet. We have to wait for the puu yai to confirm it in a press conference,” Nopparat Chaikaew said by phone.
Suksa Withaya is one of two “ghost stations” which have been included in the BTS system map since 1999 but never actually built. Suksa Withaya was supposed to be located between Chong Nonsri and Surasak, while the other unbuilt station, Sena Ruam, was meant to separate Ari from Saphan Kwai.
The two missing stations became a point of controversy in recent years, after some commuters accused the BTS of charging them fares for passing through the non-existent stations. In response, BTS maintained its fares were calculated on distance and not number of stations.
Skytrain public relations officer Sukunya said elevators will be included in Suksa Withaya from the start.
“When we built the skytrain many years ago, elevators were not originally in the plan,” she said. “But Suksa Withaya has them in its plan.”