Thailand’s cabinet finally gave approval to construction of the first phase of a high-speed railway to China yesterday following years of stop-start negotiations.
The first phase of the railway will be a 250-km line between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima (GCR)
The move follows last month’s special executive order by the country’s military ruler allowing construction to start.
The $5.2bn first phase of the railway will be a 250-km line between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat, located around a third of the way north to the Laos border.
The longer-term is to build a 873-km rail line linking the planned Chinese line through Laos to Thailand’s eastern ports and industrial zones.
"The Cabinet has approved phase one of the high speed railway… from Bangkok to Korat with 179 billion baht (US$5.2 billion) budget for a four-year plan," said a spokesman of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who heads the Thai ruling junta, reports Channel News Asia.
Thailand’s government has said Thai firms will be responsible for construction while China will be responsible for the railway technology, signal systems and technical training.