Deferral sought on signing rail contract

Deferral sought on signing rail contract

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) will this week ask its board to defer the signing of "Contract 2.3" for the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima high-speed railway to October this year.

SRT deputy governor Worawut Mala said the signing of the 50.6-billion-baht contract is currently unable to proceed due to a lack of agreement on the cost of tracks, the signalling system and procurement of train carriages.

Moreover, the 28th Thai-Chinese Joint Committee (JC) meeting in which the contract was due to be signed cannot take place because of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

The SRT board, chaired by Department of Land Transport director-general Jirut Wisanjit, will be asked on Thursday to extend the signing deadline, which was due to expire at the end of next month to October, he said.

There are a total of 14 contracts involved in the the 179-billion-baht, 253-kilometre rail route from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast.

Of the 14, bidding has proceeded for 13 contracts except the one involving construction of the 10km stretch from Bang Sue to Don Muang.

The stretch overlaps with another rail project linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports, so the bidding has been put on hold.

The SRT will hold talks with the Charoen Pokphand Group-led consortium that won the 224-billion-baht airport link contract.

However, despite completed bidding, the signing of several other contracts for the Sino-Thai rail scheme cannot proceed either until they get environment impact assessment (EIA) approval. The Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima line is only part of a larger project for a high-speed train link to Nong Khai.

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