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Thailand’s battery-electric railway plans shunt forward

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The Transport Ministry is pushing ahead with the procurement and development of battery electric railcars with the aim of having them running by 2023.

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The Department of Rail Transport (DRT) and State Railway of Thailand (SRT) have been tasked with setting up a procurement plan as well as working out an operation budget, Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said on Friday.

He added that SRT was also cooperating with educational institutes to come up with a design for battery-electric railcars, which will debut at the Bang Sue Grand Station.

"The ministry has also instructed electric railway service agencies to study electricity management to ensure the new railcars are efficiently operated,” he said, adding that the ministry may build a special power plant to power up the battery-electric railcars.

He said the ministry will study and design the new railcars this year, modify fossil-fuel locomotives into battery-electric ones in 2022 and conduct trial runs in 2023.

DRT, SRT, Railway Technology Development Institute and educational institutions are set to turn the four existing GEK or Alsthom locomotives into battery-electric ones by 2023.

“The procurement plan for battery-electric railcars will run until 2024, and the ministry is also planning to procure 20 battery shunting locomotives during that period,” he said.

Published : August 27, 2021