Monday, October 6, 2008

Thailand considering urban monorail systems

(Source: New Straits Times)trackingBy Marina Emmanuel

SCOMI Engineering Bhd is set to submit proposals to the authorities in Bahrain and Thailand next year for urban monorail systems.

Sources said the company is using its network as an oil and gas player in the Middle East, Southeast and South Asia, and it has been doing the groundwork for monorail systems in some of these cities for over a year.

"The company expects to be busy with monorail systems in these markets over the next five years," a source told Business Times.

Scomi Engineering is believed to be in talks currently with a party in Bahrain to submit a proposal to the government there.

This week, the Bahrain government announced an overhauling of the country's public transportation through the introduction of a monorail metro system.

Media reports in the Middle East stated that the Bahrain government had ordered a feasibility study to revamp the transportation system to ease congestion on its roads and pre-empt mounting traffic.

Besides Bahrain, Scomi is also eyeing Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar as potential monorail markets. It plans to use the Middle East as a launchpad to enter North Africa.

The source also said that the Thai government had visited many cities across the globe, including Kuala Lumpur, to study monorail systems.

"The Thai authorities are looking at ways to complement the country's rail-way projects with monorail systems to cut cost, noise and construction time," he said.

Monorails, he noted, can be completed in two to three years and halve the construction cost compared with that for elevated railways. It also reduces noise pollution because of its rubber wheels.

"Scomi is currently preparing to make a study and this will be followed up with a proposal for two monorail lines in Bangkok," the source added.

It was reported that Thailand's Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning had announced that two railway projects, the 12km Lat Phrao-Bang Kapi-Hua Mak Yellow Line and the 10km Tiwanont- Chaeng Watthana-Bang Sue Pink Line, would be converted from ordinary railways to monorails, which are reported to be more suited for construction along narrow routes.

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