Thai leg of the high speed rail to Laos and China will be completed by 2028
The government has stated that by 2028, it will have finished its part of a long-delayed high-speed rail system connecting Thailand with China and Laos.
The 434 billion baht project’s first of two phases will be completed by 2026, according to officials.
According to the director-general of the Department of Rail Transport, Pichet Kunadhamraks, 12% of the first stage is built, and Thailand hopes to have a test run by 2026 and an official opening in 2027.
The tracks in Thailand will cover a distance of 609 kilometres, from Bangkok to Nong Khai, a province on the country’s northeastern border with Laos, where a Mekong River bridge will be developed to connect to the China-Laos high speed train system.
The 253 kilometre route, with a 180 billion baht budget, will connect the Thai capital with the Isan province of Nakhon Ratchasima.
The second phase, which would cover 356 kilometres and cost 254 billion baht, will continue northeast to the Laos border.
Following a meeting between Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Tuesday, Thailand has renewed its commitment to the project, which was originally proposed in 2014 under China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
According to the director-general at the Department of East Asian Affairs at Thailand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, there were some slowdowns, including the Covid pandemic and contractual disagreements, but everything now is “looking bright.”
“There were some procedural steps which have caused some delays but we’re making constant progress. The Thai government emphasises the importance of this project as we support regional connectivity.”
In order to connect with China, Laos spent about $6 billion to open a train route last December.
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