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Topic Summary

Posted by: thaiga
« on: July 11, 2017, 08:53:53 PM »

Cabinet greenlights high-speed rail project

The cabinet has approved the first phase of the 253km Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima high-speed rail project, to be invested entirely by the Thai government at a cost of 179.4 billion baht.

The State Railway of Thailand will be the executor of the four-year project, Prime Minister’s Office Vice Minister Kobsak Pootrakul said on Tuesday.

Construction will be in three phases -- Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima, Bangkok-Nong Khai and Kaeng Khoi (Sara Buri)-Map Ta Phut (Rayong).

Although the route will be built as close as possible to the existing rail line, some 2,815 rai of land will need to be expropriated, or 10-15% of the project land. It will be in Bang Sue -Ban Phachi junction (818 rai) and Ban Phachi junction-Korat (1,997 rai), costing an estimated 212 million baht.

There will be six stations on the route -- Bang Sue, Don Mueang, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Pak Chong and Nakhon Ratchasima. The maintenance depot will be in Chiang Rak Noi.

At the maximum speed of 250km per hour, each trip will take 1 hour and 30 minutes, compared to a little over four hours it takes now.

“In the first year of operation [2021], we estimate some 5,300 passengers will use the service each day, a quarter of the 20,000 people using the route at present.

“Over the next 30 years [2051], the ridership will rise to 26,800 with 26 trips leaving at a 35-minute interval,” Mr Kobsak said.

The fares will be on par with current services. The starting fare will be 80 baht, plus 1.80 baht per km. At this rate, the Bangkok-Sara Buri trip will cost 278 baht while the Bangkok-Pak Chong (Nakhon Ratchasima) trip will cost 393 baht and the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima trip will be 535 baht, he said.

The project is expected to turn Thailand into a regional hub and can link to the One Belt One Road that links Europe, Asia and Southeast Asia.

After this, the project will be sent to the National Legislative Assembly for approval.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said after the cabinet meeting the first 3.5km to be built in October was the Klang Dong-Pang Asok section in Nakhon Ratchasima, with a budget of 1.7 billion baht. 

Of the total 179.4-billion-baht budget to be mobilised by the Finance Ministry, 2.6 billion baht is earmarked for this year; 43 billion baht for 2018; 62.2 billion baht for 2019; 59.7 billion baht for 2020; and 12 billion baht for 2021.