Thailand and Japan are set to embark on the first phase of a high-speed rail project linking Bangkok and Chiang Mai province.
Officials from the Department of Rail Transport (DRT), the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, the Public Health Management Office, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, and the State Railway of Thailand attended a recent technical meeting to review a feasibility study focusing on the economy and finance of the project. Japanese agencies, including the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Japanese embassy, were also in attendance.
The 668-kilometer rail line, which features 12 stations, will be divided into two phases, with the first phase covering over 380 km from Bangkok to Phitsanulok, and the second phase covering a further 288 km from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai.
DRT Director-General Pichet Kunadhamraks said the meeting was a follow-up to the first gathering held on December 14, 2022, in which participants further reviewed the feasibility of the project.
Pichet stated that the high-speed rail project is a significant initiative that could provide economic benefits to Thailand, strengthen bilateral relations, and pave the way for more successful projects in the future.
The JICA has been conducting a feasibility study on the project since 2017 to find ways of improving its effectiveness, reducing the budget, and ensuring that the construction is completed in a timely manner. (NNT)