BANGKOK — Skytrain officials on Wednesday hinted that the long-delayed plan to expand a popular station close to Taksin Bridge may be implemented within the “beginning of this year.”
After years of lengthy discussions and uncertainty concerning the fate of BTS Saphan Taksin station, the rail operator said the station will be closed for expansion works for 40 months and construction will likely begin later this year, though they gave no precise time frame.
“We’re currently discussing the plan with relevant agencies,” BTS public relations officer Patchaneeya Sukcharoen said. “No dates have been set, but the plan should begin within the beginning of this year.”
The station, located on the east end of Taksin Bridge, has long been a bottleneck of the system due to its single track layout where only one train can stop at the station at a time.
Congestion at BTS Taksin Bridge worsened in recent years as more commuters and tourists relied on the station as a link to the nearby river boats and ferries.
The new plan will add a second set of tracks and platform at the station to ease congestion, according to the operator.
“The service will operate as usual, but trains will not stop at Saphan Taksin,” BTS CEO Surapong Laoha-Unya said. “We will provide shuttle buses from Surasak and Krung Thon Buri stations for passengers during that period.”
He added, “When it’s done, trains will arrive every two minutes, shorter than the current wait time of three minutes.”
The CEO said the company will invest in the 1.1 billion baht project, which also includes the addition of traffic lanes on Taksin Bridge. Surapong expected the works to be completed within the end of 2022.
Saphan Taksin station was originally intended to be a temporary station and set for demolition in 2012, after the system was expanded across the Chao Phraya River in 2009. However, it proved to be a popular stop, with more than 40,000 commuters using the station daily, and its demise was indefinitely postponed.