Bangkok (Urban Transport News): The Thailand government on Thursday signed an agreement (MoU) on Thursday with a consortium led by conglomerate Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group and including China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC) to commence construction of 220km long high-speed rail network.
The Memorandum of Undertaking (MoU) was signed by State Railway of Thailand (SRT) Governor Worawut Mala and Charoen Pokphand Group CEO Supachai Chearavanont in presence of Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
The proposed high-speed rail corridor will connect Suvarnabhumi Airport with Don Mueang International Airport and U-Tapao International Airport. The total value of the contract is THB224.5 billion (equivalent to US$7.4 billion). This high-speed rail project is one of the major rail infrastructure projects to be developed in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) investment zone and it will be adopted by Thailand's State Railway of Thailand (SRT) through public-private-partnership.
The Thai government will contribute 60% of the total expenditure on the project. Out of 220km, the HSR route will consist of 181km of elevated track, 8km of underground track, and 2km of the surface track (at the grade). The construction will begin in 12 to 24 months and the project is scheduled to commission in 2023. The trains will operate at maximum speeds of 250kmph.
The CP-CRCC consortium will have the right to operate, maintain and manage the high-speed rail line for 50 years after which the project assets will be handed over to the Thailand government. Prime Minister Chan-o-cha said that the high-speed rail project is designed to be connected with the Thai-Chinese high-speed rail project in the northeastern region of the country and to accommodate regional land, sea, and air connectivity.
He said that many jobs in the EEC region will be created, new cities along the high-speed rail network will be built and the economy will prosper in areas around the railway stations.