Cabinet approves airports-connecting rail project

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Bangkok – The cabinet has approved a 700-billion baht high speed rail project connecting three main airports in central Thailand.

Adviser to the Office of the Prime Minister, Nattaporn Jatusripitak, revealed the cabinet gave the green light to the high speed rail project connecting Don Muang, Suvarnabhumi, and U-tapao airports, which will be invested in a PPP Net Gross format with the private sector.

The 220-kilometer rail project will be constructed in two phases, with the government managing the land rights and the private sector providing the construction, train systems and operations, land development, and maintenance.

Selected firms will be given a 50-years period to co-invest with the government and the State Railway of Thailand.

Trains will run up to 250 kilometers per hour, providing direct connection between the three airports.  A ride from U-tapao to Bangkok will take 45 minutes, while a ride between Makkasan station in Bangkok and Pattaya will cost 270 baht, and 330 baht between Makkasan and U-tapao respectively.

Responsible agencies will draft terms of reference to begin the selection process of private firms to co-invest in this project.

The cabinet has also approved a 3.57 billion baht budget for real assets survey and management costs, and the 119.46 billion baht credit for co-investment with the private sector payable in annual increments for no less than 10 years.

In addition, the cabinet endorsed the plan to transfer 22.56 billion baht debt from the Airport Rail Link project to the responsibility of the government, and mandating the area alongside the high speed tracks between Don Muang airport and Suvarnabhumi airport as an extension of the Eastern Economic Corridor project.