Transport minister sets off for China for high-speed rail talks

Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit will jet off to China next month for a meeting to discuss Thailand’s ambitious high-speed railway project and ignite the engines on the Land Bridge megaproject, worth a staggering 1 trillion baht.

Suriya declared yesterday his forthcoming leadership at the 31st Thailand-China joint ministerial committee meeting scheduled for May 7 to 9.

Topics on the agender include the high-speed rail project, designed to whisk passengers from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima at lightning speed, said Suriya.

“This meeting marks the first in-person gathering in half a decade, a monumental occasion post the Covid-19 pandemic.”

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Providing a tantalising sneak peek into the project’s progress, Suriya revealed that the first phase, currently 32% complete, is on track for a grand unveiling in 2028. Plans for the second phase, linking Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai, are also revving up, with potential ties to the Chinese-Laos high-speed train system.

Encompassing a formidable 357.12 kilometres, the second phase commands an eye-watering investment of 341.35 billion baht, boasting elevated sections and ground-level stretches peppered with five strategic stations.

Moreover, the transport minister teased that the Land Bridge megaproject, aiming to forge a logistical lifeline between Chumphon and Ranong, will also take centre stage during his trip. Deep-water ports, a motorway, and a railway system are just the tip of the iceberg.

The ministry’s gears are turning rapidly, with plans to finalise the Southern Economic Corridor law by year’s end, inviting foreign investors in the following year’s fourth quarter, reported Bangkok Post.

With construction slated to commence in 2026 and completion earmarked for 2030, the Land Bridge promises to reshape Thailand’s economic landscape for decades to come.

In related news, Suriya pledged that by September 2025, electric train rides throughout the metropolitan area will cost a mere 20 baht, fulfilling a longstanding promise of the ruling Pheu Thai Party.

This initiative, initially implemented on select lines last year, faced scepticism from opposition figures like Surachet Pravinvongvuth of the Move Forward Party.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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