Thursday, December 3, 2015

Thai-Chinese railway project on schedule

The Nation December 1, 2015

BANGKOK: — The 873-km Thai-Chinese railway project for the country’s northeastern line got underway yesterday as scheduled, Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said.

“The project was not delayed,” he said, adding that even though more details would be added to the system design criteria work, everything was expected to be delivered within December.

As planned, the Thai-Chinese railway project will feature a double track with a standard gauge (1.435 metres), carrying trains with speeds of up to 180 km/hour for the Bangkok-Kaeng Khoi and Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong Khai-Kaeng Khoi-Map Ta Phut routes. The project is being developed as a government-to-government deal.
Arkhom said that after the ninth meeting between the two nations takes place in Bangkok on Thursday, the details on construction and financial costs as well as percentage of investments of each side should be revealed between January and February.

The railway project along the Lower East-West Corridor from Kanchanaburi to Laem Chabang via Bangkok and the Bangkok to Aranyaprathet route will have a total length of 574 km.

Also on a government-to-government basis, Thailand and Japan recently signed a memorandum of cooperation to improve the single-track railway, upgrade it to double track and develop two missing links between Kanchanaburi and Ban Nam Phu Ron for 26 km and between Aranyaprathet and Khlong Luek.

Arkhom said this project was important to both Thailand and Myanmar’s strategic transport plans as it passes four special economic zones (SEZs): Myanmar’s Dawie SEZ, Kanchanaburi SEZ, super cluster Eastern Seaboard, and Sa Kaeo SEZ.

The railway project will also link Myanmar’s Dawei deep-sea port with the Laem Chabang deep-sea port in Thailand.

In January, Japan will acquire three 12-foot containers to try out the Nong Pladuk-Laem Chabang deep-sea port route.

After that, Thailand and Japan will form a joint venture for route operations and carriage procurement as well as upgrading the track from single to double.