High-speed railways coming soon, Govt says


If all goes according to plan, land and water travel should be considerably quicker throughout much of the country by the year 2020, with the first Bangkok-Pattaya high-speed rail line completed by 2018.


















Tourists chat in front of a billboard display of high-speed trains at Hua Lamphong railway station in Bangkok last March. The government has said such a scene will be real by 2018 – at least for Bangkok to Pattaya. APICHART JINAKUL


If all goes according to plan, land and water travel should be considerably quicker throughout much of the country by the year 2020.

The cabinet is set to consider legislation for a 2-trillion-baht borrowing plan next Tuesday. Quick approval is expected, after which the bill will be forwarded to parliament by the end of this month for final approval, with a target to complete a wide variety of major infrastructure projects within seven years.

The nation’s railways will get first priority, receiving more than 80 percent of the funding. Under the plan, the country’s first high-speed train between Bangkok and Pattaya will be up and running by 2018.

Three other lines linking the capital with Phitsanulok, Nakhon Ratchasima and Hua Hin are also scheduled to be completed the following year.

Of the remaining funds, 30.7 billion baht is to be spent on water transport system development, 243 billion baht on road development, and 12.19 billion baht on road checkpoint development.

Chula Sookmanob, director of the Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning Office, said the government expected to invite bids for the four high-speed trains in September. Bidders will be required to specify their technology for the train in the bidding contest to enable the government to project the construction cost. Interest is expected from Japan, China, South Korea, France, Germany and Spain.

Yesterday, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said he supported infrastructure projects, but he disagreed with the borrowing plan.

Mr Abhisit said the projects could be implemented through the original 300-billion-baht plan using the annual budget since some of them are already included in ongoing development plans. The government has a solid majority in parliament, however, so its borrowing plan is likely to win easy approval.


Map shows the four high-speed rail projects
currently in the planning stage, with the solid
red line to Pattaya to be built within five years.


Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post by Chatrudee Theparat.

Author: Anna

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