Khon Kaen province has announced plans to trial a new light rail network to complement Thailand’s high-speed rail project, which will connect Nong Khai province and Bangkok, as well as the dual-track train network connecting Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima.
Khon Kaen is one of Thailand’s seventy-six provinces (Changwat) which lies in central northeastern Thailand. Neighboring provinces are (from the north, clockwise) Nong Bua Lamphu, Udon Thani, Kalasin, Maha Sarakham, Buriram, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chaiyaphum, Phetchabun, and Loei.
Deputy Government spokesperson Traisuree Taisaranakul said the light trail prototype was on exhibit at the Isan Creative Festival 2022 from February 25 to March 6. She added that the 26-kilometer track will connect Samran in the northern section of Khon Kaen city to Tha Phra station in the south by 2025.
The Khon Kaen Light Rail Transit Project is a planned 22.6km light rail transit system consisting of an initial 16 stations to serve Khon Kaen Province in northeast Thailand. A Phase 2 extension of 3.5km and 5 stations is also planned. The line will have both grade and elevated sections. Fares are expected to be a flat 15 baht. As of 2020, construction has yet to start.
The Khon Kaen LRT project is supported by the Office of National Higher Education Science Research and Innovation Policy Council’s Administration and Capital Management Unit for Enhancing the Country’s Competitiveness (AEC).
AEC committed 100 million baht over a span of three years to assist a research team from Rajamangala University of Technology Isan Khon Kaen Campus (RMUTI-KKC) and Cho Thavee Plc, a leading engineer integrator in Khon Kaen.
Paiwan Kerdtuad, a lecturer from the Faculty of Engineering at RMUTI-KKC, is overseeing the fabrication of prototype parts, which comprise bogies, car bodies, traction motors, traction inverters, cooling systems, pantograph auxiliary power units, fasteners, and a cushion sleeper.
In 2015, the mayor of Khon Kaen province proposed incorporating the Khon Kaen LRT project into the city’s Smart City initiative.
The mayor of Khon Kaen Municipality said officials from the Khon Kaen Transit System Co (KKTS), a corporation formed and registered to operate the system, are currently conducting an environmental impact assessment on the project.