On 14 February 2023, an agreement signing ceremony was held between NSTDA, the Department of Rail Transport and the Rail Technology Research and Development Agency to promote research, standard development and quality testing of rail parts and components. The signing was executed by Prof. Dr. Sukit Limpijumnong, NSTDA President, Dr. Pichet Kunadhamraks, Rail Transport Department Director General, and Dr. Santi Charoenpornpattana, President of Rail Technology Research and Development Agency.
Prof. Dr. Sukit Limpijumnong remarked that railway plays a vital role in the transport and logistics and Thailand has put significant investment in railway infrastructure in Bangkok and big cities such as Chiang Mai, Phuket, Khon Kaen and Nakhon Ratchasima, the double-track railway project to enhance the transport of passengers and goods between Thailand and neighboring countries, a high-speed railway linking Thailand to Laos, and upcoming projects as outlined in the strategic plan of the Ministry of Transport to bolster Thai rail transport and become the regional leader in rail technology.
To support research and innovation and ensure the safety of the rail system, NSTDA has been strengthening the technological capacity of its Electrical and Electronic Products Testing Center (PTEC) to fully serve the industry. PTEC obtained an ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for testing rail electronic and electrical components, railway signaling system, communication system, and performance. Such testing services will support the automotive industry transition from producing traditional auto parts to manufacturing rail parts and components to fulfil rising demands.
Apart from rail testing services, PTEC has been providing electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing for railway system for over two decades. The EMC testing service has been carried out for the Bangkok mass rapid transit system, including the purple, green, blue and red lines as well as the BTS system.
In 2023, PTEC-NSTDA will expand its rail testing scope to cover environmental health impact assessment (EHIA) with tests for sound acoustic and rolling stock vibration.
Dr. Pichet Kunadhamraks stated that this collaboration marks a significant milestone for the development of Thai rail industry, supporting the Thai First campaign of the Ministry of Transport. Previous Thai First action includes the hirings of Thai skilled labor and engineers in the Thai-Chinese high-speed train project to facilitate skill and technology transfer, resulting in the capacity development and reducing foreign technology and expert dependence. This tri-partite collaboration on standards and testing will add benefits to the Thai economy even further in terms of job creation and parts and components import reduction.
Dr. Santi Charoenpornpattana said that this partnership will enable Thailand to meet the goal to increase rail transport utilization from 15% to 40%. With a partner specializing in research and innovation like NSTDA, we will be able to build local capacity in parts manufacturing, maintenance and service, standards and testing.