Thai railways: Double-track upgrade paves the way for 120km/h passenger speeds

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The Thai government is set to partially inaugurate the Map Kabao-Jira Junction double-track railway line next year. This Thai railway development will result in an increased speed limit for passenger trains, potentially enabling them to travel up to 120 kilometres per hour, a significant leap from the existing 50 kilometres per hour.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha made a visit to the construction site situated at the rail tunnel at Ban Hin Lab Station within Saraburi’s Muak Lek district. During his visit, he received a comprehensive update on the construction’s progress from Nirut Maneephan, the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) governor.

The 69 year old PM expressed gratitude towards the SRT and all involved parties for their diligent work in the successful completion of the project, which he stated was in line with the government’s development policies. These are centred about augmenting logistics and nationally spread railway systems, to increase the country’s potential.

As per Traisuree Traisaranakul, the deputy spokesperson, the Ban Hin Lab tunnel is the first among three built along the Map Kabao-Jira Junction sector of the northeastern line that bridges Saraburi and Nakhon Ratchasima.

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Stretching a total of 5.85 kilometres, the Ban Hin Lab tunnel holds the title of the longest tunnel in the country. It is 7.5 metres in width and ascends to a height of 7 metres.

The highest level of safety and security features have been incorporated into this tunnel. This includes evacuation areas for passengers every 500 metres within it. The tunnel’s construction is close to completion, standing at 98.13% complete, and is projected to be partially functional by next year, reported Bangkok Post.

The two remaining tunnels include 650 metres one constructed between the Ban Hin Lab and Muak Lek Mai Stations within Saraburi and a 1.4 kilometres tunnel crafted on Lam Takhong Dam in Nakhon Ratchasima. The development of both these tunnels is now concluded, as highlighted by Traisuree.

Following the conclusion of these double-track upgrades, it is anticipated that passenger trains will manage speeds of 120 kilometres per hour, while freight trains can maintain 60 kilometres per hour.

Apart from the significant enhancements in the transportation sector, Thai railways development is also projected to be a fresh point of interest for tourists. The picturesque views along the railway line are expected to attract visitors, commented Traisuree.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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