New stretch of Bangkok's Blue Line MRT opens, linking Chinatown and Grand Palace

New stretch of Bangkok's Blue Line MRT opens, linking Chinatown and Grand Palace

People walk around the Sanam Chai MRT underground station
People walk around the Sanam Chai MRT underground station during the station's inauguration in Bangkok on Jul 29, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Lillian Suwanrumpha)

BANGKOK: Five new MRT stations along Bangkok's Blue Line extension opened to the public on Monday (Jul 29) for a two-month trial run.

Commuters can ride for free along this stretch until Sep 28. 

The five stations - Wat Mangkon, Sam Yot, Sanam Chai, Itsaraphap and Tha Phra - take passengers to attractions such as Chinatown, the Grand Palace and Temple of the Reclining Buddha. 

People board a train at the Sanam Chai MRT underground station
People board a train at the Sanam Chai MRT underground station during the station's inauguration in Bangkok on Jul 29, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Lillian Suwanrumpha)

The Blue Line extension has 11 stations in total, with the remaining stretches to open later this year and in 2020. 

Four of the stations are designed to showcase unique cultural landscapes. 

Sanam Chai, for instance, is meant to resemble a Rattanakosin-style stateroom, reported Khaosod English. Wat Mangkon in Chinatown blends a mix of Chinese and European architecture with a dragon motif.

People take selfies at the Sanam Chai MRT
People take selfies at the Sanam Chai MRT underground station during the station's inauguration in Bangkok on Jul 29, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Lillian Suwanrumpha)

A policeman stands guard at the Sanam Chai MRT
A policeman stands guard at the Sanam Chai MRT underground station during the station's inauguration in Bangkok on Jul 29, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Lillian Suwanrumpha)

The stations will be served by a new fleet of trains.

Pakapong Sirikantaramas, the governer of Thailand's Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA), was quoted by the Bangkok Post saying that the Blue Line currently serves 350,000 passengers a day. 

When all extensions are completed, ridership is expected to more than double to 800,000 a day, he said. 

People queue for tickets at the Sanam Chai MRT station
People queue for tickets at the Sanam Chai MRT station during the new underground public transport station's inauguration in Bangkok on Jul 29, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Lillian Suwanrumpha)

Officials stand in front of a train at the Sanam Chai MRT station
An official stands in front of a train at the Sanam Chai MRT station during the new underground public transport station's inauguration in Bangkok on Jul 29, 2019. (Photo: AFP/Lillian Suwanrumpha)
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Source: CNA/ic(gs)

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