SRT Governor Prapas Chongsa-nguan said the government is issuing a bill to seek Bt2 trillion in loans for the project to connect Thailand from Chiang Khong district of northernmost Chiang Rai province to the southernmost town of Padang Besar, and the northeastern province of Nong Khai with neighbouring Lao PDR.
The dual track rail links will connect Thailand with southern China and the wider Southeast Asian region, he said.
Of the 4,000km rail lines in Thailand, only 300km are currently dual track, and the SRT will have to build additional 2,857km of dual track to cover 53 provinces, he said.
With the dual-track system in full operation in the next seven years, the SRT will be capable of transporting goods at 50 million tonnes/year and service 75 million passengers/year, he said.
Mr Prapas said the present single track system compels cargo trains to run at an average 30km/hour as they have to switch tracks along the way.
The dual track system will increase their speed to 90km/hour and industrialists will possibly switch to train service which cuts their logistics costs, he said.
Thailand’s present logistics cost is 15.2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) while the government has set a target to reduce it by at least 2 per cent in the next seven year.