Thai-Chinese train project delayed again

Construction News Laos


A Chinese-made diesel-powered locomotive makes a test run, hauling 40 containers from the Inland Container Depot in Bangkok’s Lat Krabang district to Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri, on Jan 23, 2015. (Photo by Wichan Charoenkiartpakun)

Construction of two medium-speed railway routes under a Thai-Chinese agreement faces yet another delay, less than a month after the two countries pledged to speed up the project.

The delay emerged from the latest round of talks on Wednesday and Thursday in Beijing, a Transport Ministry source said on Friday.

It was earlier planned that construction would begin before the year’s end. The two countries have now agreed on May next year as the new target month for the start of work, the source said.

Thailand wants a revised feasibility study of the project from China,  and there is still no agreement on the loans from China and the form of the joint venture, the source added.

Thailand has awarded China the right to build two medium-speed train lines — from Nong Khao to Map Ta Phut in Rayong province, and Kaeng Khoi district in Saraburi province to Bangkok.

The two countries promised on Oct 9 to try to get the project going by December, and to kick it off with a groundbreaking ceremony before the year comes to an end.

The train project with China, a total investment cost of around 400 billion baht, was originally set to start off  on Oct 23,  but lack of agreement on several points keeps pushing it further into the future.

Although constructionwill now not begin until well into 2016, the two countries still intend a groundbreaking ceremony in December as planned, the source added. It will be held at the planned site for the operations control centre, at Chiang Rak Noi station in Ayutthaya’s Bang Pa-in district.