Deputy Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan said that Mr. Wang Shengwen, the Director-General of the Department of Outward Investment and Economic Cooperation under the Commerce Ministry of China is visiting Thailand and has expressed enthusiasm in Thailand’s projects to construct 2 high speed rail routes, namely Bangkok-Chiang Mai and Bangkok-Nong Khai.
According to Minister Chatchart, China has conducted initial studies on the projects and suggested that the Bangkok-Chiang Mai railway should concentrate on passenger transport using trains running at a speed of 250-300km per hour. China has also suggested that 87% of the route should be constructed on elevated grounds to avoid the problem of inundation.
Meanwhile, the Bangkok-Nong Khai route should aim for both passenger and cargo services, with trains running at a speed of no less than 160 km/hour. This route is highly attractive to China as it will create rail links among Thailand, Laos, and China.
However, Mr. Chatchart said Thailand has not yet decided who will be granted the construction contract as it has also received proposals from Japan and Korea. Once the decision is reached, the Ministry of Transport expects construction process to commence within 2013.