Addressing Concerns About the Purple Line Extension and Historical Sites
The Fine Arts Department has recently expressed its concerns over the potential impact of the new Purple Line extension on historical sites located in Bangkok’s Rattanakosin Island old town area. In response, the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) has assured that they will work closely with the department to mitigate any potential damage to these sites during the construction of the BTS line.
Progress and Design of the Purple Line Extension
The 101-billion-baht Southern Purple Line (Tao Pun-Rat Burana) is currently 8% complete and is scheduled to be operational in 2027. The 23.6-kilometer extension features 17 stations, with seven being overland and ten underground.
However, the proposed locations for four underground stations – Bang Khun Phrom, Phan Fa, Sam Yot, and Saphan Phut – are causing concerns, as they reside within the Rattanakosin Island area. The Fine Arts Department is particularly worried about the construction of entrances, exits, ventilation shafts, and vents for these stations and their potential impact on historical landmarks.
Protecting Historical Sites and Buildings
According to Kittiphan Phansuwan, the former director-general of the Fine Arts Department, the underground stations’ design is less concerning, as the MRTA has already planned to avoid damaging historical sites. However, several notable sites are located near proposed station locations:
- Bang Khun Phrom station – Close to Bang Khun Phrom Palace and the Si Hong printing house, a colonial-style shophouse built during King Rama V’s reign.
- Phan Fa station – Near a historical shophouse with a hip roof covered with kite-shaped tiles and Mahakhan Fort, one of the two remaining historic forts in Rattanakosin Island.
- Sam Yot station – Close to Bangkok Remand Prison, which serves as a corrections museum and is awaiting listing as a historical site.
- Saphan Phut station – Near the possible remains of Chak Phet Fort, which are believed to be underground.
MRTA’s Efforts to Minimize Impact on Historical Sites
MRTA governor Pakapong Sirikantaramas has expressed his commitment to redesigning some stations to address the Fine Arts Department’s concerns. The MRTA aims to ensure that the Purple Line extension’s construction process respects and preserves the invaluable historical sites and buildings of Bangkok’s Rattanakosin Island area, maintaining its rich cultural heritage for future generations.