By The Nation
The premier on Wednesday presided over the signing of “Contract 2.3” between the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), China Railway International and China Railway Design Corp at Government House.
The Bt50.63-billion contract is for Phase 1 of the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima high-speed railway, which will run from Bangkok to Nong Khai. The contract covers construction of the track and electrical, signalling and communication systems, procurement of trains, maintenance and technology transfer.
Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said that Phase 1 comprises a 253-kilometre stretch of track with six stations – Bang Sue, Don Muang, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Pak Chong and Nakhon Ratchasima.
The Thai side is entirely responsible for investment on this phase and the civil works, while the Chinese side will oversee the design and installation of track, electrical systems, train operation system, train procurement and personal training.
The Thai side is currently drafting the design of Phase 2 – a 354.5km track from Nong Khai to Nakhon Ratchasima.
Saksayam said the ministry will ask the Cabinet to approve the launch of an institute to conduct research and development of track system technology, aiming to increase the number of experts in the field.
This would help boost use of local materials, add about Bt21 billion in value to the Thai rail industry, and create jobs worth about Bt6 billion annually, he said.