A high-speed train project, a planned joint investment project between Thailand and China, which will link between the Thai capital and Nong Khai province bordering Laos is expected to be completed in late 2015, said Supoj Saplom, permanent secretary for Thai Transport Ministry.
Mr Supoj said after a meeting of the working committee on Friday that the meeting had discussed on preparing a draft of memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the joint venture project. The draft is expected to be ready in early January next year and forward to the cabinet for its consideration later the same month before it is submitted to the parliament for its consideration and approval in February.
The parliamentary process is expected to be completed in March while construction could start in 2011 and furnished in late 2015, Mr Supoj said.
Initially, the Beijing investment on the project between the two countries will be on a 50-50 per cent basis while the Thai finance ministry is responsible on investment details of the project.
Two more senior Thai officials — one from Finance Ministry and the other from Foreign Affairs Ministry — have been appointed to join the working committee as the entire process involves a joint investment between the two countries.
Distance between Bangkok and Nong Khai is about 640 kilometres. Previously, the scheme involved on constructing a high-speed train with dual rail track at construction costs estimated at Bt180 billion. But the costs could be lower between 20-30 per cent after the system is switched to a standard gate high-speed train system. Upon completion, the rail system could lower goods transportation costs as well as boosting tourism between Thailand and Laos.
Thailand’s joint parliamentary meeting on Oct 26 has approved a proposed draft framework of Thailand-China negotiations to construct a high-speed train system in Thailand.
Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva met his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao on Nov 12 and the latter agreed to speed up negotiations to construct a high-speed train system in Thailand.
The Chinese premier said the discussion should begin with the details of the routes and format of joint investment, according to Mr Abhisit. (MCOT online news)