Thailand to proceed with high speed rail project


Thailand’s Transport Minister Sophon Zarum on Monday said the Thailand-China Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation has approved a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the construction of a Bangkok-Nong Khai high speed train route as proposed by his ministry.

The minister said the initial draft was approved by a joint committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban. The working committee on the project will initiate talks to conclude the MoU draft between Thailand and China. Talks will also be held at the ministerial level.

Sophon added the completed draft will be proposed to Cabinet and later forwarded for parliamentary approval. He gave assurances that all processes will be done within the tenure of the Abhisit administration.

The 615-kilometre high speed train project will link the Thai capital to Nong Khai, the northeastern province bordering Laos, with an investment of Bt150 billion (US$50 billion).

Initially, the Transport Ministry plans the official signing of the MoU to take place in mid-2011, with construction expected to begin at the end of 2012 and open for serving the public in 2016. (MCOT online news)