Pattaya high-speed link on track for 2018

Posted on March 13, 2013

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The government is aiming to complete the country’s first high-speed train between Bangkok and Pattaya by 2018.

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Three other lines linking the capital with Phitsanulok, Nakhon Ratchasima and Hua Hin are also scheduled to be completed the following year.

The planned four high-speed rail routes are part of infrastructure projects under the 2-trillion-baht borrowing plan to be tabled before the cabinet for its approval next Tuesday.

Barring any problems, the bill will be forwarded to parliament by the end of this month for final approval, with a target to complete all projects in seven years.

Other key projects to be financed with borrowing under the bill include 10 mass transit projects, dual track railways and road projects which have undergone environmental impact analyses.

Of the total borrowing, 1.65 trillion baht will be spent on railway development, 30.7 billion baht on water transport system development, 243 billion baht on road development, and 12.19 billion baht on road checkpoint development.

Chula Sookmanob, director of the Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning Office, said the government expected to invite bids for the four high-speed trains in September. Bidders will be required to specify their technology for the train in the bidding contest to enable the government to project the construction cost. Interest is expected from Japan, China, South Korea, France, Germany and Spain.

Mr Chula said the government will establish a new organisation before September to manage the high-speed links.

He said the government hopes to be able to reduce the country’s logistics costs by at least 2 per cent after all projects featured in the bill are completed.

The country’s logistics costs stood at 1.75 billion baht in 2012 against its gross domestic product of 11.5 trillion baht in the same year.

The projects could also reduce fuel costs by at least 100 billion baht a year and cut travelling time between Bangkok and the provinces within a 300km radius to 90 minutes from three hours.

PM’s Office Minister Varathep Ratanakorn said the government would meet state agencies on Friday to make sure it can clearly answer questions about the projects that may be raised in parliament.

The government has extended an exhibition on the projects by another four days to Saturday to make sure the public are informed about them, he said.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva reiterated Monday he disagreed with the borrowing plan.

Mr Abhisit visited the exhibition with deputy leader Korn Chatikavanij and party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut Monday at the Government Complex on Chaeng Watthana Road.

They were accompanied by Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong and Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt.

Mr Abhisit said the projects could be implemented through the original 300-billion-baht plan using the annual budget since some of them are already included in ongoing development plans. He cited dual-track railways as an example.

He also said the planned high-speed railways should be extended to Nong Khai and Malaysia instead of ending at Nakhon Ratchasima and Hua Hin.

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Map shows the four high-speed rail projects currently in the planning stage, with the red line to Pattaya to be built within five years.

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Posted in: Bangkok, Pattaya