Thailand Unveils Luxury Domestic-Made Rail Carriage to Revolutionize Mass Transit

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In a groundbreaking collaboration between the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), Sinogen-Pin Petch Joint Venture, and King Mongkut Institute of Technology Ladkrabang (KMITL), Thailand has unveiled a cutting-edge rail carriage prototype known as “Beyond Horizon.” This revolutionary project marks a significant milestone in the nation’s efforts to enhance domestic manufacturing and advance its railway system with localized technology.

Designed with opulence and comfort in mind, Beyond Horizon boasts 25 luxurious seats, each equipped with touch screens for individual passengers. The demonstration unit, currently on display, is also fully accessible for wheelchair users, emphasizing the commitment to inclusivity in modern transport solutions.

The driving force behind the Beyond Horizon project is Somyot Kaitwanidvilai, the dean of KMITL’s School of Engineering. He revealed that the initiative aligns with the Transport Ministry’s visionary Thai First Policy, aiming to integrate more domestic hardware into the mass-transit system. The ambitious target is to utilize 40% Thai-made materials in the production line, setting the stage for a surge in rail network expansion anticipated in the years to come.

As Thailand envisions a future with an expanded rail network, it is projected that by 2040, the country will require a minimum of 2,425 rail carriages. With each carriage estimated to cost around 50 million baht, the total investment for the expansion could amount to a staggering 100 billion baht.

To put the project’s significance into perspective, between 2015 and 2018, the procurement of rail carriages accounted for 80% of SRT’s import expenditure. By fostering self-reliance in rail carriage production and embracing localized technology, Thailand aims to reduce dependency on foreign suppliers and strengthen its position in the railway industry.

The Beyond Horizon rail cars exude the opulence of airline business and premier class cabins on high-speed trains. The carriage features a super luxury section with eight seats, complemented by an additional seventeen seats for other passengers. Each seat is equipped with an onboard entertainment system, providing a premium travel experience akin to the comforts of air travel. Passengers can conveniently order food directly from their seats, elevating the journey’s luxury quotient.

The carriage design also incorporates a vacuum lavatory system reminiscent of commercial planes, and the doors follow a universal design approach, catering to the needs of passengers with disabilities. The pricing of tickets for Beyond Horizon is expected to be comparable to the SRT’s sleeper trains, making luxury rail travel accessible to a wider audience.

Maethus Lertsethtakarn, an executive of the Sinogen-Pin Petch Joint Venture, highlighted the stark contrast between Thailand’s reliance on foreign manufacturing for rail carriages and its neighboring countries, such as Myanmar, Vietnam, and Malaysia, which successfully produce carriages for domestic use. Foreign procurement expenses have historically exceeded 6 billion baht. However, the development of Beyond Horizon presents a transformative shift, enabling cost reductions, knowledge sharing, and technical expertise for local entrepreneurs.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha expressed optimism about the project’s potential impact on Thailand’s economy and transportation sector. He envisions that the domestic production of carriages could lead to significant cost savings compared to imports, further bolstering the nation’s journey towards self-sufficiency and technological prowess in the rail industry.

In conclusion, Beyond Horizon stands as a testament to Thailand’s determination to foster domestic manufacturing and revitalize its mass transit system. As the country embraces the future with an expanding rail network, the project offers a glimpse of Thailand’s innovation and commitment to transforming the landscape of rail travel, marking a new era of luxury and comfort in the country’s railway transportation.

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