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Light rail on the way to Phuket and its airport

February 6, 2017 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Phuket is about to join the global light rail revolution, with the governor of the Thai resort island confirming that a light rail tram service will open there in 2021.

A major rail revival is underway worldwide, including light rail, metro rail, heavy rail, and high-speed rail.

In Phuket’s case, the line will run to Phuket International Airport, making the going easier for international visitors, who will be able to fly straight in and bypass the traffic on arrival. The station will be built outside the airport’s terminal building. A previous model proposed a station inside the terminal, but the terminal’s structure was found to be unsuitable, the Bangkok Post reported.

Phuket Governor Chokchai Detamornthan said on Saturday the 60-kilometre light rail tram project would be completed within the next three years. Construction will start next year and finish in 2020, with the tram service being officially launched in 2021.

The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) is seeking potential bidders for the project, which will be run under a public-private partnership scheme.

Chokchai said the tram service would have 23 stations along its route, stretching from Tha Noon in Phangnga to Chalong intersection in Muang district. As well as serving the airport, the tram would pass along Thep Kasattri Road.

As well as the tram project, Phuket is building five tunnels to ease traffic congestion.  The tunnels at Dara Samut and Sam Kong intersections are already open, while the tunnel at Bang Khu intersection is 70% complete. The tunnel at Chalong intersection should be finished this September and the one at the airport in 2019.

Light rail is being embraced by cities around the world as a way of easing traffic congestion.

In Sydney, the CBD and South East Light Rail is a new network currently under construction. The 12-kilometre route will feature 19 stops, extending from Circular Quay along George Street to Central Station, through Surry Hills to Moore Park, then to Kensington and Kingsford via Anzac Parade and Randwick via Alison Road and High Street. Services will start running in 2019.

Written by Peter Needham

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