The Don Mueang–Suvarnabhumi–U-Tapao high-speed railway is a proposed railway that will connect the two airports of Bangkok with U-Tapao airport in the Eastern Economic Corridor of Thailand.
The rail link will be connected to what will eventually be the two biggest railway stations in Bangkok (Bang Sue Grand Station and Makkasan). The train will also have a stop at Pattaya, connecting Bangkok to the popular beachside city in under 1 hour.
The project is known as the High-Speed Rail Linking Three Airports Project, and it will be operated by the Eastern High-Speed Rail Linking Three Airports Company Limited. Hopefully by the time it’s ready they will come up with a shorter name (Airports Superlink?)
The line length is 220 km, and it will run on a standard-gauge track. The train will travel at up to 160 km/h in the urban area between Don Muang and Suvarnabhumi, and up to 250 km/h between Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao.
A high-speed railway to Pattaya was proposed in 2013, and from there it was expanded to include U-Tapao in Rayong as part of a grand Eastern Economic Corridor railway. In 2017 it was decided to extend the line from Makkasan to Don Muang, making it a 3-airport line. After years of planning delays the project was officially announced in 2019, and the target opening date is for 2023.
There is currently a rail service from Bangkok to Ban Phlu Ta Luang (near U-Tapao Airport) that stops at Pattaya. The quickest train takes 2 hours 28 minutes to go from Bangkok to Pattaya, and up to 4 h 25 min to get to Ban Phlu Ta Luang. This is much slower than a bus, and only runs twice a day in the morning, so it’s not a useful form of transport in its current format. This is a metre-gauge railway, so the high-speed railway will be using a new track.
As a high-speed service on a standard gauge, this will operate separately from the current railway.
Part of the route already exists with the Airport Rail Link from Phaya Thai to Suvarnabhumi. This is a standard-gauge railway, so it will only need minor modifications to integrate it into the new line.
The section from Don Muang to Bang Sue will use the railway that is currently under construction, and from Bang Sue to Phaya Thai there will need to be a new line. The line from Suvarnabhumi to U-Tapao will be new as well.
The high-speed stations include:
Bang Sue Grand Station
There will also be a stopping-all-stations service that will service the stations in between. This is similar to how the Airport Rail Link runs a city and express service.
[Lat Krabang Station on the Airport Rail Link.]
Bang Sue Grand Station is the new central station of Bangkok that will replace Hualamphong Station. All regional and international trains will depart from here, so the new airport link will make it easier to transfer.
Makkasan is the biggest station on the current Airport Rail Link. It was designed so passengers could check in at the station and go straight to the airport on the express train. There is a similar service in Hong Kong, but this service didn’t catch on in Bangkok and the check-in area remains closed.
Part of the plan for this railway is to redevelop the area surrounding Makkasan. The area owned by the State Railway of Thailand, and this area is one of the prime undeveloped blocks in Bangkok. There have been different proposals, from building a new mini-city to creating a new city park.
Development of the high-speed railway, the EEC, and the change of the landscape [PDF] – [19/03/18]
“Based on this conclusion, this study argues that the Bangkok-Rayong route will significantly change the EEC from a basic manufacturing sector to a manufacturing plus services sector, in which research & development (R&D) centers, testing and laboratories, data centers, back office functions, as well as services related to tourism will agglomerate.”
Korea Rail Network Authority lands order to manage high-speed railway in Thailand – [18/03/20]
“KRNA will manage a high-speed railway that is being built to link Don Mueang International Airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport and U-Tapao International Airport. It is scheduled to open in 2023. The total cost of the public-private partnership project is about eight trillion won.”
Consortium ready to start work on high-speed rail – [08/02/20]
“Eastern High-Speed Rail Linking Three Airports Co Ltd, a consortium led by Charoen Pokphand Group, is ready to start the construction of high-speed rail, take over the operation of the Airport Rail Link (ARL) and train new staff for future service.”
Thailand puts high-speed rail project on track with land pledge – [18/01/20]
“CP Group consortium promised all plots needed for construction within four years.”
Govt to expropriate 50,000 rai of land for infra developments – [03/01/20]
“The government plans to expropriate up to 50,000 rai of mostly farm land for infrastructure development of the Eastern Economic Corridor and other parts of the country.”
Thailand hopes to have bullet trains running by 2023 – [17/11/19]
Deal inked for Thai high-speed rail linking 3 airports – [26/10/19]
“Thailand took a step closer to its high-speed rail project linking three airports in and near Bangkok with the signing of a public-private partnership (PPP) on Thursday.”
CP set to ink airport link deal – [16/10/19]
“Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group has confirmed its consortium will sign a contract to develop the 224-billion-baht high-speed train project linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao airports on Oct 25 as scheduled.”
3-airport rail link hits another bump – [09/10/19]
“The signing of the 224-billion-baht contract between the State Railway of Thailand and Charoen Pokphand Group (CP) for the rail link between three international airports has run into another delay following the resignation of the entire SRT board.”
[An artist’s impression of the high-speed train for the track to be built by the Charoen Pokphand consortium connecting Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-tapao airports.]
Three-airport high-speed train project stumbles forward – [11/09/19]
“One of the delayed Thai high-speed rail projects is now closer to being inked by the State Railway of Thailand and CP Holding’s joint venture, once an agreement on some key details of the public-private partnership project are reached.”
Thai cabinet approves high-speed rail linking three airports – [29/05/19]
“Thailand’s cabinet on May 28 approved a contract worth 225 billion baht (7.07 billion USD) to build a high-speed rail connecting the country’s three major airports.”
CP Group and other companies to build $6.8bn Thai high-speed project – [15/05/19]
“Charoen Pokphand Group (CP Group), along with 12 other companies, have been selected to build a $6.8bn high-speed rail project in Thailand.”
Thailand: CP, BTS groups set to bid for airport link high-speed railway – [12/11/18]
“Two rival corporate groups – Charoen Pokphand (CP) and BTS Holdings Plc – are expected to submit their bids today for construction of a high-speed rail linking the three main international airports – Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-tapao – worth a total of Bt220 billion.”
Airport rail link timeline announced – [25/09/18]
“The contract for the high-speed railway set to link Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao airports will officially be announced and signed by the winning bidder by next January, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has announced.”
How Thailand’s massive infrastructure project will create Asia’s next big innovation hub – [18/09/18]
Sponsored content by the Thailand Board of Investment, explaining the High-speed railway in relation to the new Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).
Thailand approves $7.2 billion high-speed rail project to link airports – [27/03/18]
“Thailand’s cabinet approved on Tuesday a high-speed railway project expected to cost about 225 billion baht ($7.22 billion), that will link three airports, a government official said.”
High-speed rail linking 3 airports wins first nod – [26/02/18]
“The Eastern Economic Corridor Board has approved in principle a 260km high-speed train project seamlessly linking Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao airports at a cost of 200 billion baht.”
Taking the bullet train to Pattaya – picture shows the shape of things to come – [19/10/17]
“The sleek train in our picture is whizzing at high speed along the beautiful coastline – destination Pattaya”
No opposition to fast train linking three airports – [17/10/17]
“There has been no public opposition at hearings on a planned high-speed railway linking three international airports – Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao, according to the project manager.”
[A map of the proposed route from Bangkok to Rayong.]
SRT to request funds for Pattaya-Bangkok high-speed rail line in Oct. – [11/09/17]
“The State Railway of Thailand next month will request 28 billion baht to construct a high-speed train line linking Pattaya with the region’s three main airports.”
[An artist’s rendering of what the new rail line might look like.]
Rapid rail link to Rayong set for 2023 – [04/09/17]
“The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) aims to open services for the 260-kilometre long High-Speed Rail connecting 3 airports (Don Mueang – Suvarnabhumi – U-tapao) railway by 2023, with ticket prices starting at 20 baht and adding 1.80 baht per kilometre.”
Thailand mulls upgrading U-Tapao as Bangkok’s 3rd airport – [01/05/17]
“U-Tapao, which has one 12,000-ft. (3,500m) runway built by the U.S. during the Vietnam War, is two hours by road from the capital, but this travel time is expected to be reduced to less than one hour after a new high-speed rail link will be completed.”
Government says U-Tapao will be cornerstone of EEC – [20/03/17]
“The government will prioritize the development of U-Tapao airport as the cornerstone of the Eastern Economic Corridor, the new development zone east of Bangkok that will showcase Thailand’s advancing digital economy, along with a high-speed railway linking the area to Bangkok, the deputy prime minister in charge of the economy said last week.”
U-tapao, high-speed rail top list – [13/03/17]
“The government will move first with two transport projects – the upgrade of U-tapao International Airport and the construction of a high-speed railway – out of the five mega-projects under the Eastern Economic Corridor master plan.”
Military government set to link 3 airports – [25/01/16]
Rayong added to high-speed rail link – [13/05/13]
“Initial plans were to build a high-speed train from Bangkok to Pattaya, but Rayong would be added.”
High-speed train bids set for 2014 – [11/04/13]
“The eastern route is slated to run to Pattaya and extend to Rayong in later phases.”
High-speed train to Pattaya in 5 years – [11/03/13]
“The first high-speed train line to Pattaya is expected to begin by 2018 after the government opens a bid to build the service in September, a senior Transport Ministry official said on Monday.”