The State Railway of Thailand (SRT), the national rail service operator, has given an assurance that it will not dismantle the decades-old Hua Lamphong rail terminal and will hold a public hearing, so all stakeholders can air their views on its future.
The SRT’s public relations director, Aekkarat Sri-arayanphong, said today that Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has ordered the SRT to hold the public hearing.
The SET plans to end all remaining services in and out of the old station in the middle of next month, following the opening of the new Bang Sue grand station, which is to be the main rail hub.
According to the Transport Ministry, ending all rail services at Hua Lamphong will ease traffic congestion in Bangkok, currently caused by the closure of roads at all rail crossings every time a train passes.
Many suburban commuters, who regularly travel via Hua Lamphong to work, have complained that the ending of the services will cost them more, because they will need to connect with bus, BTS or MRT rail services from the new hub to get into the city. Currently, most are paying only 12 baht for return tickets per day.
Conservationists are also concerned that the old station building, which they regard as a historic piece of architecture, will be demolished and would like it to be turned into a museum.
Aekkarat explained that the government has planned for a long time to migrate services to Bang Sue station, adding that the hub is already linked with BTS and MRT electric train services, the airport link and, in the future, the high-speed Thai-China train service.
To address the concerns of suburban commuters, he said the Transport Ministry is considering feeder services to the inner city from Bang Sue by asking the BTS, MRT and Bangkok Mass Transit Authority, operator of bus services, to issue discount tickets for commuters.
For the commercial development of its prime land in Bangkok, including Hua Lamphong, he said the SRT has set up a real estate company, called SRT Assets, to handle real estate management.