Thailand kick-starts delayed THB276.5-billion rail project to link 3 airports


The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) said it hopes to finalise the joint investment contract for the high-speed railway project linking three airports soon, after a delay of over two years due to Covid.

SRT is currently amending the 276.5-billion-baht contract the government signed with a Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group-led consortium in October 2019 to link Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports.

The contract with Asia Era One Co Ltd (formerly Eastern High-Speed Rail Linking Three Airports Co Ltd) is still pending as both parties are discussing compensation for reduced passenger volume on the Airport Rail Link during the Covid situation, said SRT governor Nirut Maneephan on Sunday.

Nirut said SRT is awaiting a green light from the government’s subcommittee for Eastern Economic Corridor Administration Policy, chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Energy Minister Supattanapong Punmeechaow, which will soon meet to find solutions to finalise the contract and initiate the project.

The subcommittee will also address other issues that could further delay the project, such as the structural overlap with the link from Don Mueang to the national rail hub at Bang Sue, and allocation of public waterways around Makkasan station.

Nirut added Asia Era One has yet to be or access to the construction site officially approved by the Thailand Board of Investment (BOI), so SRT could not issue the NTP (notice to proceed) to allow access to the construction site. BOI approval is one of the prerequisites stipulated in the contract, he said.

SRT said it has already prepared construction sites on the Suvarnabhumi-U-Tapao section which it will deliver once the contract is finalised. The clearing of construction areas for the Phaya Thai-Bang Sue section is still underway, with unfinished jobs including land expropriation in Rajavithi and removal of oil pipes blocking the railway’s path.

SRT expected to complete the jobs by June this year, Nirut said.

“We hope that the subcommittee will finish amending the contract soon and let the construction start so that it is completed within the 2026 deadline. After that, the SRT will start testing the system and training employees,” he said.