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Operational Challenges of the Bangkok Airport Rail Link
Urban Rail Transit  (IF),  Pub Date : 2020-01-25, DOI: 10.1007/s40864-019-00121-3
Waressara Weerawat, Lalitphan Samitiwantikul, Ratthanan Torpanya

The airport rail link (ARL) was launched in 2010 as a premium rail transit service between the inner city of Bangkok and the airport. In 2014, the express service was canceled due to its unpopularity and transformed into the commuter service. In 2017, the new extended service concept was introduced under the three airport links project. Under this new concept, both ARL and high-speed trains will run on the city line section between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi Airports. This paper focuses on the use of a microsimulation model to identify the challenge of mixed-service operations, with regular and express trains running on the city line section. The simulation model allows investigation of hypothetical situations and construction of feasible timetables. The model can identify sections where special attention is needed, such as speed reductions, extended dwell times, or delayed departures. During the peak hour, the results suggest that the regular ARL should run with a 10-min headway and the high-speed one line with a 20-min headway, as an alternative solution. This results in fewer train numbers and less additional running time. Simulations indicate that the high-speed train is not efficient, as it consumes 2–3 times higher energy, while offering little time saving compared with the ARL city train. In addition, the Suvarnabhumi Airport extension track layout needs to be carefully considered, since the Suvarnabhumi Station area is a bottleneck liable to disruption.