The government plans to launch the bidding for the country's first high-speed train route linking Bangkok with Chiang Mai by this September.
The train will take just three hours to reach its destination.
Director of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning Chula Sukmanop said international contenders are among those expected to participate in the bidding.
He was speaking yesterday after a seminar held to gauge public opinion on the 680-km Bangkok-Chiang Mai high-speed train route.
The project requires a total budget of 387 billion baht.
The seminar is part of a feasibility study for the rail project that is required to be completed before bidding for the construction contract can begin.
More seminars are expected to take place in different parts of the country soon.
Mr Chula said the high-speed train system would probably be similar to the one China further developed from European high-speed trains.
A company will be established to operate the high-speed trains and the Finance Ministry will be the major shareholder, he said.
Construction of the first high-speed train line is expected to begin early next year and the first section of it from Bangkok to Phitsanulok should be completed between 2018 and 2019. The last section from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai would wrap up two years after that, Mr Chula said. He said fares would probably be no more than 2,000 baht per trip.
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- Writer: Amornrat Mahitthirook