The government of Thailand has held an information evening for firms interested in bidding for work on the country’s second high-speed rail scheme, which will be procured as a 50-year public-private partnership.
The $7.2bn, 220km link would join three airports outside Bangkok with the main provinces of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC): Rayong, Chachoengsao and Chon Buri. The link would speed the switch from agriculture to manufacturing and spread the burden of tourism on the country’s transport infrastructure.
The government will pay up to $3.8bn to buy the land needed for the link, and the private sector consortium would be expected to finance the construction of the line and the purchase of the rolling stock.
The planned system (EEC)
The project will involve the construction of nine stations, as well as a light rail system to improve connectivity around Bangkok’s airports: Suvarnabhumi, U-Tapao and Don Mueang.
The scheme was approved by the government at the end of last month. The EEC agency hopes to pick a winning consortium by October and to sign a contract by December. It is expected that construction will take five years.
Work began on Thailand’s first high-speed line in December. This ambitious project will bring Thailand closer to China, with an 873km link stretching from Bangkok to the town of Nong Khai near the Laotian border.
Image: Khao San road, Bangkok. Annual tourist arrivals equal half of the population of Thailand (David Rogers)