News: 28 December 2022
Latest Posts: Future Metro Manila mass transit system and the Makati Subway. News: Phnom Penh Metro, Thakhek-Vung Ang Railway, Koh Samui Bridge, and more...
Welcome to the last news update for 2022. I was thinking of taking the week off, but it is business as usual in this part of the world. I even posted two articles this week instead of the usual one.
The big news in travel in Southeast Asia is that China will reopen borders and drop Covid quarantine from January 8. After nearly three years of not being able to travel, there is going to be pent-up demand for international travel (so called “revenge travel”, for want of a better phrase). The first flights are going to be expensive until the airlines fully restart operations, so it won’t be a mad rush straight away.
I’m preparing an annual airport report for next week (here is the 2022 edition), so this report will be going out just days before Southeast Asia-China flights resume normality. I will be watching how fast the recovery is in Vietnam. In 2019 I noted that there where flights from 30 mainland cities to Nha Trang. I will be back in Nha Trang at some point in 2023 so I will do another city count then.
On the ground level, I’m waiting for the news of the Laos-China Railway finally becoming a Laos to China railway. I will get the train from Vientiane to Kunming, with a stopover in Boten. I will then come back via Lao Cai and Hanoi.
I’m looking forward to covering news about transport and urban development in Southeast Asia in 2023, and thank you dear readers for supporting this project!
Latest posts at Future Southeast Asia
• Future Manila mass transit system – Every urban rail line planned for Metro Manila
• Key study on capital’s rail project completed
“Preliminary studies on three options for a mass transit railway system for Phnom Penh have been completed, and after “a few adjustments”, a report will be submitted to Prime Minister Hun Sen to decide which choice to move ahead with, according to Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol.”
[Updated: Phnom Penh Metro]
• Cambodia on track for high-speed railway
“The Cambodian government has expressed its determination to build high-speed rails to link Phnom Penh with Sihanoukville and neighbouring countries.”
• $2.6B worth of construction projects given nod in Jan-Nov
• National flag-carrier airline reveals local project tied to China’s ‘Air Silk Road’
“Aviation officials and industry insiders are praising a new domestic project linked to Beijing’s “Air Silk Road” (ASR) strategy – itself associated with the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – to be managed by Cambodia’s flag-carrier airline with the main goal of turning Phnom Penh and Siem Reap province into top travel destinations for Chinese and ASEAN holidaymakers.”
• World Bank to back study for key S’ville logistics hub
• New Yangon Cambodia Sea Express Service launched
• Mekong River body raises ‘alarm’ over river plastics
• Historic building preservation a boon for Battambang history buffs
• President Jokowi officiates revitalized Manggarai Railway Station
• LRT, HSR to be operational by mid-2023: Jokowi
• New train station proposed for Tanah Abang
• Impossible to stop high-speed rail construction, says official post accident
• Jakarta to conduct coastal embankment development in stages until 2027
• Indonesia considers $320 mln in incentives to boost EV sales in 2023
• Construction of Thakhek-Vung Ang seaport railway link expected to begin early next year
[Updated: Vientiane – Vung Ang Railway]
• Laos-China Railway yet to compensate over 1,000 families
• Russian airline eyes Laos as new regional air hub
• Vientiane’s iconic Nam Phou Square officially handed back to public
• Malaysia to continue with East Coast Rail Link project at lower than original cost: PM Anwar
"The East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project will continue under the current administration, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said, though it will cost the government RM11.01 billion (US$2.48 billion) less than originally expected."
[Updated: East Coast Rail Link]
• Phase 2 of Putrajaya MRT Line fully operational in March
• GET’s e-buses can electrify Philippine transportation, but find fewer drivers and commuters aboard
• PIDS: 'Grueling commuter experience' remains after Build, Build, Build
• Subway ROW acquisition very challenging – DOTr
• Trial using AI to reduce energy usage at MRT stations underway at Paya Lebar and MacPherson
• The world’s largest port reclamation project wraps up
• A ‘super penthouse’ in Singapore's Central Area sold for S$48 million
• Bridge connecting Koh Samui to mainland Thailand to open in 2029
[Updated: Koh Samui Bridge]
• Train lovers start bidding farewell to Korat station
”The State Railway of Thailand will start dismantling the station in February to clear the space to build a modern facility to serve dual tracks and high-speed trains in the future.”
I’ve written about the mixed-gauge mess of Thailand’s railway, and I will keep mentioning it when the subject makes the news. There will be a new station at Nakhon Ratchasima that will accommodate the doubled-tracked metre-gauge line and standard-gauge high-speed railway. These two separate systems are being built at the same time to go to the same location 🤦.
Here is the plan for the new station building for Nakhon Ratchasima railway station, showing a level for each system (more plans posted in this Facebook group).
If I was in charge, I would have just built a semi-high-speed standard-gauge railway from Bangkok to Nong Khai and eventually discontinue the single-tracked metre-gauge railway. That would have cost less than building a HSR and the double tracking of the metre gauge, and it would match the speed of the Laos-China Railway.
• Construction of Chiangrai railway station has started
I’m happy that Chiang Rai is getting a railway, but this should also have been a standard-gauge railway to branch off a future Chiang Mai HSR line.
“City Hall has set April as the deadline for the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA), the contractors of the Orange, Pink and Yellow lines and other stakeholders to restore road surfaces around construction sites.”
• St. Andrews demolishes football field at city’s order
• Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport recovers to 64% of Nov-2019 pax levels in Nov-2022
With flights from China resuming in January, 2023 is looking like it will surpass air traffic levels of 2019.
• Construction of 3rd terminal begins at HCM City airport
• Why Vietnam and other Asian countries won’t replace China as an electronics manufacturing hub anytime soon [$]
• In Vietnam, the mighty Mekong’s banks are crumbling as illegal sand miners run riot
• Vietnam lacks builder for new airport
[Updated: Long Thanh International Airport]
• Vietnam struggles to quit coal as renewable energy faces hurdles
• Vietnamese central province builds new $80mn bridge over Perfume River
• In Vietnam, a forest grown from the ashes of war falls to a resort project
• Sidewalks become parking lots in Hanoi
• CDIA sets in notion the Can Tho Bus Priority Project Preparation Study
• Vietnam's century old French colonial villas fight against the ravages of time