Excavation of what will be Thailand’s longest tunnel has officially begun in northern Thailand. The 6.2 kilometre long tunnel is part of the Den Chai to Chiang Khong railway that is now being built to connect Thailand with Laos. Of particular interest for tourists is that this new line will also have a railway station on the outskirts of Chiang Rai city. If the double track line is finished on time, it is expected to open for service in 2028.
The Den Chai – Chiang Rai – Chiang Khong railway line will have a total distance of 323.10 kilometers. It is part of the development plan of the railway system in Thailand that will connect the existing railway network to neighboring countries such as the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) and the Republic of the Union of Myanmar. It will help promote travel and transportation of goods from Thailand to neighboring countries more easily and at a reduced cost.
The Den Chai-Chiang Rai-Chiang Khong Railway Project starts at Den Chai Station, Phrae Province, heading north through the area of 59 sub-districts, 17 districts, and four provinces, namely Phrae, Lampang, Phayao and ends at the Chiang Khong border checkpoint in Chiang Rai Province near the 4th Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge.
There will be a total of 26 stations, consisting of four large stations, nine small stations and 13 halts. There will also be four double track tunnels through the mountain area. The total distance of all the tunnels is about 13.9 kilometres. One tunnel alone is 6.2 kilometres long. The main highlight of this project is that it is being built with no level crossings as the complete line will be fenced in. There will be 254 points along the way that will have bridges and underpasses.
Source: Press Release from the State Railway of Thailand