Train assembly hub of Asean now a coveted title
The Transport Ministry has set out an ambitious plan to turn Thailand into the train assembly hub of Asean.
Deputy Transport Minister Pailin Chuchottaworn said the ministry is in the process of holding talks with relevant agencies to support the setting up of a train assembly plant.
He was speaking at the Rail Asia 2019 Expo event at the State Railway of Thailand's Makkasan Airport Rail Link Expo Halls in Bangkok on Thursday.
The plant, he said, would also supply trains to CLMV countries -- Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.
The project is likely to get off ground between 2020 and 2021, he said.
It is possible that three electric train plants will be established, which would be able to produce 900 carriages a year by 2027, Mr Pailin said.
This should also help to reduce the cost of importing trains 10-fold from the current level of 70 billion baht, he added.
The project would also help to reduce maintenance costs by 1 billion baht a year and create at least 500 jobs, he said.
Thailand needs to import 7,000-10,000 train components but the project could reduce this number by 3,000, he noted.
The minister said the kingdom will expand its rail network to connect with neighbouring countries.
Within a few years, he said, double-track and high-speed railways would be able to connect with those in Laos, with a train service operating across the border between Trat in Thailand and Siem Reap and Battambang in Cambodia.
Talks with Myanmar are needed to connect to its rail lines, Mr Pailin said.
He said the incoming projects include high-speed rail routes, 10 electric train routes in Bangkok and its surrounding provinces, and light rail transit (LRT) links in some regions.
Mr Pailin said public buses organised by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority would become a feeder system connecting with electric train stations.