SRT set to seal rail deal this month

SRT set to seal rail deal this month

Charoen Pokphand chief executive Suphachai Chearavanont leads his team to submit a bid for a high-speed train project connecting three airports on Nov 12, 2018. The consortium is expected to sign the contract in September. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Charoen Pokphand chief executive Suphachai Chearavanont leads his team to submit a bid for a high-speed train project connecting three airports on Nov 12, 2018. The consortium is expected to sign the contract in September. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and Charoen Pokphand Group (CP)-led consortium is expected to sign a contract for the construction of a high-speed railway project linking three major airports this month, SRT acting governor Worawut Mala said on Thursday.

He added that the contract is almost completely outlined, with only some wording for the contract set to be fine-tuned after public prosecutors approve the contract. 

The next step will be to submit the details, including an environmental impact assessment, to the Transport Minister and the Eastern Economic Corridor Policy Committee and the cabinet. 

Mr Worawut said that after the contract is signed, the two leading entities will work together to prepare land for construction.

One year after the signing, the SRT will issue a notice to inform the contractor of when it can begin work in order to finish the construction within five years, Mr Worawut said, adding that talks can be held to extend the deadline if it is not completed within the allotted time. 

He said that it was also agreed that utility systems that obstruct the planned route for the high-speed rail will be removed by agencies that operate the utilities and that those agencies will pay for costs incurred.

He added that the government has set the state subsidy for the project at 119 billion baht and the contractor will receive the subsidy after the contract is signed.

Part of the subsidy will also be spent on removing the pillars of the terminated Hopewell train network project which block the planned high-speed route, and on the construction of the Bang Sue-Don Muang section which is part of the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway that will link Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima.

The Bang Sue-Don Muang section will be shared by the high-speed rail project linking the three airports.

The terms of the contract also give the contractor the right to manage the Airport Rail Link, and it will have to pay for the right within two years of the contract's signing. 

''The SRT's selection panel will send a letter to inform the CP-led consortium of this approach and the group will have seven days to reply. Afterwards, a date will be set for the signing of the contract,'' Mr Worawut said.

The CP-led consortium was the winner of the bid to build the 224-billion-baht high-speed railway linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports as part of a plan to develop the government’s flagship Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) high-tech investment hub scheme.

The 220-km railway network is scheduled to open in 2024. Its trains are expected to be able to reach up to 250 kilometres per hour.

Early this month, the SRT announced it was ready to hand over 80% of more than 10,000 rai of land to the consortium so it can begin work.


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