BANGKOK, July 2 – The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) signed an agreement with a consultant firm to conduct a feasibility study for the country’s first high speed rail project from Bangkok to the eastern seaboard province of Rayong.
SRT governor Prapas Chongsa-nguan said Monday that the study should take 14 months while bids for the construction should be called early next year.
The initial project will link Bangkok, starting at Suvarnabhumi airport, and Rayong, while the next phase will involve an extension to the easternmost province of Trat.
Mr Prapas said the route is short, to be built mainly on SRT land, requiring minimal land expropriation. Service should begin in 2019.
The high speed rail link, a project under the government’s Bt2 trillion infrastructure investment programme, will extend 221 km from Bangkok to Rayong. When in operation the new rail service will take only an hour and 15 minutes at a speed of 250 km per hour.
The entire project will cost Bt100.631 billion with stations in Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Pattaya and Rayong, after which it may extend to Trat if feasible.
An estimated average of 30,000 passengers, mainly tourists, will travel per day on the high speed train in the first year.