Part of the abandoned Hopewell BTS train track collapsed this morning, falling onto the Bang Khen railway tracks in the Chatuchak area of Bangkok. Funnily, BTS developers had been planning on using the elevated train tracks as part of their rail line expansion north, an idea that seemed dangerous to me the first time I heard it. I used to drive by the Hopewell tracks every day when I was still a teacher in Thailand and, no, I would never take a train that was running on them. After all, the Hopewell BTS train tracks have been completely abandoned for close to a decade, with no repairs or maintenance done on them.
Oddly though, the Hopewell train track didn’t collapse yesterday because of that. Instead it happened because someone stole the bamboo scaffolding that was supporting the train tracks. Then again, how stable are concrete beams and a concrete elevated structure if bamboo scaffolding is needed to keep them up, and they come crashing down the minute it’s removed?
The BTS rail line on the same route the Hopewell tracks are on is eventually supposed to go from Bang Sue to Rangsit but as this extension has been being planned since 1997, I highly doubt it will be finished any time soon.
After this though, even if it is, you won’t catch me taking the BTS sky train from Bang Sue to Rangsit. Not that I don’t trust Thai BTS officials to make the right decision about structural safety. Oh no, wait, I don’t.