Ministry plans new rail route to Cambodia
The Transport Ministry is planning to open a new rail route to link Sa Kaeo's Aranyaprathet district with Cambodia to facilitate cross-border trade, and boost tourism around the eastern border of the country.
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said that the new rail route, which will be opened soon, will connect Aranyaprathet with Cambodia's Poi Pet, Sisophon and Battambang.
Thailand will give a diesel-powered train to Cambodia as a symbolic gesture of cooperation between the two countries, Mr Arkhom said. The train will be unveiled at the opening of the new route.
"The new route is expected to facilitate travel and logistics across the Thai-Cambodian border," Mr Arkhom said. "This will also boost economic cooperation between the two countries, which are part of the Greater Mekong Sub-region Southern Economic Corridor project that involves Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam."
Worawut Mala, the acting governor of the State Railway of Thailand, said both governments will sign a draft agreement on joint work along the tracks on April 22, after the two sides have concluded talks on the matter.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen will oversee the signing of the agreement. "The diesel train, which has four carriages, will be handed over to Cambodia after the signing," Mr Worawut said.
Mr Arkhom also said a temporary railway station is being built near the Thai-Cambodia bridge in Aranyaprathet, which is also currently under construction.
The temporary railway station is closer to the border than Aranyaprathet station, the minister said.
The 29.28-kilometre bridge, which is expected to cost some 4.19 billion baht to build, will link Sa Kaeo's Aranyaprathet to Cambodia's Poi Pet.
"We have made considerable progress as currently about 50% of the bridge has already been built," he said.
Once completed, it will serve as the new permanent border checkpoint, he said.