An official commencement ceremony to mark the start of construction of the Thai-Chinese railway was held Dec. 19 at Chiang Rak Noi Train Station, Ayutthaya province.
Deputy Prime Minister ACM Prajin Juntong and Chinese State Councilor Wang Yong led the ceremony with other important state officials from both countries who gathered to celebrate.
Construction is expected to start in May, and is expected to take up to three and a half years to complete, stated Thai Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith.
The Thai-Chinese joint railway development project is worth 530 billion baht, and will be built along four routes: Bangkok-Kaeng Khoi district route (118 km), Kaeng Khoi-Nakhon Ratchasima province route (134 km), Kaeng Khoi-Maptaphut port in Rayong province route (238 km), and Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong Khai province route (354 km), giving an estimated total distance of 845 kilometers of new rail. The route will connect with existing lines in Laos heading up to Kunming, China and southwards to Malaysia and Singapore.
Chiang Rak Noi Train station, owned by the State Railway of Thailand, will be developed as the Operation Control Center to manage overall railway traffic. The railway is designed as a dual track of 1.435-meter standard gauge but it will also support the existing one-meter gauge and future projects.
Once the project is completed, Arkhom added that the train will be able to run at a speed of up to 250 kilometers per hour; each train will be equipped with eight passenger carriages, able to accommodate up to 613 passengers. While trains carrying industrial loads will be able to run at 120 km/h.
When the project is completed and operating the two countries expect the trains to greatly propel transportation of goods and people between the two countries and throughout the region, as well as saving on the fuel consumption of road transport by up to 100 billion baht, along with 200 million baht in terms of possible road accidents, and greatly reduce transportation time.