Four high-speed rail routes get green light

Construction News

Four high-speed rail routes get green light

Two to be built under venture with Chinese

Economic ministers have given a green light to state investment plans for four high-speed train routes – Nong Khai-Bangkok, Bangkok-Padang Besar, Bangkok-Rayong and Bangkok-Chiang Mai.

 The first two projects – Nong Khai-Bangkok and Bangkok-Padang Besar – will be developed under a planned joint venture between the Thai and Chinese governments, said Deputy Prime Minister Trairong Suwannakhiri.

The two governments have been in talks recently aimed at setting up the joint venture.
Construction of the 580-kilometre section from Nong-Khai to Bangkok is expected to kick off by the second half of next year and take four years to complete.

Dr Trairong said the other two high-speed projects, from Bangkok to Rayong and Chiang Mai, would possibly be developed through public-private partnerships (PPPs).

Economic ministers yesterday directed relevant panels to sound out the market to assess the private sector’s capability and capacity to invest in the two high-speed routes.

The Public-Private Partnership Committee is required to submit a feasibility study on PPPs for the two projects next month. Both projects are expected to start construction by 2012 or 2013.

The study would cover investment plans, investment share of the government and the private sector, management structure and funding sources.

Tharadol Piempongsan, deputy secretary to the prime minister, said an initial study by the committee proposed two options for the development of high-speed Bangkok-Rayong project. The first option would run from Makkasan through Chachoengsao town to Rayong, while the second option would travel between Makkasan and Rayong via Bang Pakong district.

If the private sector controls the whole project, investment costs are 53.6 billion baht for a speed of 250 kph.
The project would cost the private sector about 28 billion baht if it opts to invest only in operating the train system, while the government would spend some 28.5 billion baht on civil work.

But the committee has yet to look at the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route, which spans 745 km and will cost 209 billion baht for a speed of 250 kph and 199 billion baht for 160 kph. 


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