Conclusion Of Thai-Japanese High Speed Train Project Expected By March

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BANGKOK -- A clear conclusion of the Thai-Japanese high speed train project, linking Bangkok with the northern Thai resort Chiang Mai province is expected by March this year, Thai News Agency (TNA) reported.

Thai Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said after a meeting in Bangkok between his ministry's officials and those from the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT).

The Japanese side agreed at Wednesday's meeting to conduct an additional study on the project, with its clear conclusion expected by the end of this month and likely to be submitted to the Thai Cabinet for further consideration and a decision by next month.

Arkhom revealed that Wednesday's talks focused on the 380 km first phase of the project, linking Bangkok with the lower northern Phitsanulok Province, with a budget initially set at about 276 billion baht (about US$8.68 billion).

The railway line will pass through seven stations, including Bang Sue and Don Muang in Bangkok, the central Ayutthaya and Lop Buri provinces, as well as the lower northern Nakhon Sawan and Phichit provinces, before ending at Phitsanulok province.

Both sides discussed issues on the cost effectiveness, cover the optimal stations and the number of passengers, travelling options of passengers and the development of commercial and overall urban areas surrounding the stations based on an economic impact report (EIR).

He said both sides also looked into public demand for the project and impacts from its connectivity with other regional transport projects.

-- BERNAMA