State Railways of Thailand governor: Beam collapse due to metal scaffold theft

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BANGKOK, March 1 – Today’s collapse of the unfinished Hopewell elevated concrete beam across rail tracks in Bangkok suburb was caused by metal scaffold theft, the governor of the State Railways of Thailand (SRT) said on Thursday.

Yutthana Thapcharoen commented following the collapse of a concrete beam across railway tracks in Bang Khen. The concrete beams were built in the 1990s as parts of Bangkok Elevated Road and Train System, commonly known as the Hopewell Project. Although no casualties were reported, the incident has disrupted the inbound train services.

The SRT governor instructed engineers to inspect the damage, and clear the railway tracks.

Mr Yutthana said the initial investigation found that the point of the collapse was the same location that the contractor, Hopewell Holdings, had built metal scaffolds to test weight capacity of the concrete beams.

The metal scaffolds have been stolen, leading to the collapse of the beams, according to the SRT governor.

Mr Yutthana said it would take three hours to clear the area before inbound train services could resume, while clearing the overall area would take about a week.

The Hopewell Project was named after the contractor, Hopewell Holdings. Intended as an elevated highway and rail line from the city centre to Don Mueang Airport, the project was officially terminated in 1998 being only 10-13 per cent complete, leaving over one thousand unfinished elevated concrete pillars standing idle along the planned route.