Thailand’s State Railway Receives First Battery-Powered Locomotive from China
Thailand has received its first battery-powered locomotive built in China, the locomotive is designed to improve Thailand’s railway service while lowering carbon emissions. The locomotive was successfully tested by the State Railway of Thailand at Bangkok’s Bang Sue Grand Station.
Thai Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob stated at the testing ceremony that Thailand is encouraging the use of environmentally friendly renewable energy to replace the use of fuel in the country’s transportation system as part of Thailand’s commitment to reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by 20 to 25 percent by 2030.
Minister Saksayam was also enthusiastic about Thailand-China railway cooperation.
“Thailand and China have been cooperating in various aspects of railway development,” he said, “and the success of this test marks significant progress in the battery-powered locomotive project.”
The governor of Thailand’s State Railways, Mr. Nirut Maneephan, stated that the development of a battery-powered locomotive is part of a plan to improve the efficiency of railway services.
The locomotive was created in collaboration between CRRC Dalian and the Southeast Asian country’s Energy Absolute Public Company Limited (EA).
According to Amorn Sapthaweekul, EA’s deputy chief executive officer, the battery-powered locomotive made in China with world-leading technology meets Thailand’s needs in terms of production costs as well as the Thai government’s requirements for energy conservation and emission reduction.
CRRC Dalian reports, the battery-powered locomotive was designed for passenger and general freight transportation and is based on Thailand’s original locomotive platform. The six-axle locomotive is capable of hauling 2,500-ton freight trains at 70 km/h or 1,000-ton passenger trains at 100 km/h.
Graft inquiry into State Railway of Thailand
The Thai Civilized Party’s leader has requested that anti-corruption police investigate executives of the State Railway of Thailand and others in connection with the 33-million baht contract for the new nameplate and logo redesign of Bang Sue Grand Station.
Mongkolkit Suksintharanon filed a petition with Pol Lt Col Kornkaew Prayadsap, investigation chief at the Anti-Corruption Division (ACD), on Tuesday, requesting an investigation into the contract’s cost and awarding.
The move coincided with the announcement that the SRT has decided to postpone the planned replacement of the nameplate and logo redesign due to cost concerns. The installation was supposed to begin on January 3.
The Transport Ministry has also formed a fact-finding committee to look into the contract’s awarding.
Mr Mongkolkit requested that the ACD investigate SRT officials, including executives, procurement panel members, and the contractor, to determine whether their actions violated Sections 9-13 of the law governing bid submissions to government agencies.
He wanted to see penalties imposed on those involved and the investigation completed within the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission’s 30-day deadline.
Mr Mongkolkit stated that there was no need to change the nameplate.
He wondered if there were any vested interests involved, or if there were any attempts to unfairly assist a specific bidder in entering into a contract with a state agency, or to prevent other bidders from participating in a bidding contest. He stated that he would bring the matter up for a general debate in parliament in February.
The awarding of the 33-million-baht contract has sparked widespread criticism, with claims that the contractor – Unique Engineering and Construction Plc – was hired using questionable methods (Uniq).
The redesign comes on the heels of His Majesty the King renaming Grand Station Krung Thep Abhiwat Central Terminal in September.
Project Put on Hold
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob previously defended the SRT’s nameplate and logo design contract, claiming that the bidding process was open and transparent.
The Tate Railway of Thailand announced on Tuesday that it had decided to put the nameplate replacement project on hold.
According to the announcement, SRT governor Nirut Maneephan notified the management of Uniq Engineering and Construction in writing on Monday of the plan’s postponement until further notice.
The Transport Ministry announced on Tuesday that it had formed a fact-finding committee to look into the contract’s awarding.
The committee, which is chaired by deputy transportation permanent secretary Sorapong Paitoonphong, met for the first time on Tuesday.
Mr Sorapong stated that the panel would investigate nine issues: the origin of the project, the terms of reference, the median price, minutes of meetings of the median price committee, details of the project’s procurement, details of the project’s approval, details of the bidder’s bidding price, reports of the procurement committee’s meetings, details of the contract, and price comparison.
The committee’s findings would be reported to the ministry within 15 days, by January 19.