Chumphon, Ranong rail project stalls
published : 10 Jun 2019 at 17:58
writer: THODSAPOL HONGTONG
The Comptroller General’s Department has put the double-track rail project from Chumphon to Ranong on hold due to concerns about its economic viability, according to a source at the State Railway of Thailand (SRT).
The 40-billion-baht project was originally driven by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, who envisaged the rail development linking the Gulf of Thailand to the Andaman Sea in a boost to the Southern Economic Corridor scheme.
The construction of the project was originally planned for this year, according to a cabinet meeting in August last year.
The SRT source said it is likely that the project will be brought back for consideration again sometime in the next two or three years.
The source, however, said an SRT study found that the rail route would be beneficial for development as there is still no rail link with Ranong, which is one of the country’s second-tier tourist provinces. The SRT remains keen on the project, the source stressed.
Although being eagerly pushed by the government, a study by the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) cast doubt on the project.
The OTP claimed that the project is only likely to be economically viable if its opening is delayed until 2034.
Under the plan, the line would begin south of Chumphon train station. It would pass through Muang district of Chumphon as well as Kra Buri, La-un and Muang districts of Ranong.
Before reaching Ranong deep-sea port, the route would separate with one track going to the port and the other to Ranong station.
Meanwhile, the SRT has adjusted a plan for the 100-billion-baht high-speed train project from Bangkok to Hua Hin by extending the proposal to include Surat Thani.
The new plan, stretching 759 kilometres, requires a new study, which could take about 18 months. The project would be split into two phases — the Bangkok-Hua Hin section and the Hua Hin-Surat Thani stretch, according to SRT acting governor Worawut Mala.
Referring to the progress of the 170 billion baht Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima line of the Thai-Sino high-speed train project, Mr Worawut said the bidding for all seven contracts on the section will be held between July and August.