Standard-gauge rails due by 2017

Construction News

Thai and Chinese authorities will discuss the construction of the country’s first standard-gauge railway from Jan 20-22 and the two routes from Nong Khai to Rayong and Bangkok should be completed by 2017, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong said on Friday.


Exhibition staff look at modern Chinese train models during the Smart Rail Congress and Expo held in Bangkok last November. China is expected to complete the first standard-gauge railway project in Thailand in three years. (Photo by Somchai Poomlard)

The meeting will be the first since the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on rail network development in December.

Participants will discuss the design, route details, land expropriation issued and the formation of a joint administrative committee to oversee the work, ACM Prajin said.

A second meeting from Feb 5-7 will focus on each side’s financial contribution to the project and the investment period. Chinese authorities will present a list of financial institutions interested in financing the construction as well as their lending conditions, the minister said.

Route surveys are scheduled for February to early March and full details of the project including financing should be concluded by August, he said.

The rails and trains would be Chinese technology, ACM Prajin said.

The standard-gauge track project consists of two routes. The first route will run from Nong Khai province in the Northeast to the Map Ta Phut deep-sea port in Rayong via Nakhon Ratchasima province and Kaeng Khoi district in Saraburi province. It will cover 734 kilometres.

The other line, from Kaeng Khoi to Bangkok, covers 133 kilometres.

The rail network’s 1.435-metre gauge tracks will enable trains to travel at up to 180 kilometres per hour and can accommodate high-speed trains up to 250kph in the future. At present, the State Railway of Thailand uses a 1-metre gauge.

The transport minister said that discussions with Japan about building another standard-gauge rail line from Tak to Mukdahan province would be held after the new Japanese government formally takes office.