SRT eyes next stage of EEC train project

SRT eyes next stage of EEC train project

Phase 2 plans ready by 2021, cabinet told

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) hopes to submit plans by next year for the second phase of the high-speed train route in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) that would see it extended to Trat province.

Kanit Sangsubhan, secretary-general of the (EEC) Office, on Tuesday gave an update on plans for the second phase of the key infrastructure project at the mobile cabinet meeting in Rayong province.

The SRT is drafting the blueprint for the project and preparing a cost estimate, he said, and hopes to table it for cabinet approval sometime in 2021.

If approved, the SRT would hold bidding in 2024 and it is hoped services can commence in 2028, Mr Kanit told reporters after briefing Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and the cabinet about the rail route and progress on developing the EEC.

The route, if built, will stretch 190 kilometres from U-Tapao International Airport in Rayong province to Trat province, with a journey time of 64 minutes, Mr Kanit said.

The whole route will link Bangkok as well as the EEC with new tourism sites in Chanthaburi and Trat provinces, he said.

Mr Kanit also said the government was looking at funding a light rail-feeder linking U-Tapao station and Pattaya station to a proposed smart city in Rayong province.

Meanwhile, the cabinet on Tuesday approved a 5.4-billion-baht budget to develop a Sustainable Manufacturing Centre (SMC) for the EEC project.

The centre is tasked with helping develop aviation, robotics and artificial intelligence, healthcare, biotechnology and other industries within the EEC.

Gen Prayut also met on Tuesday business leaders from Chon Buri, Rayong and Chacheongsao to promote investment in the EEC.

He vowed the government remained determined to ensure sustained and stable development in the eastern area.

"The government will try to maintain a balance between social and economic development across the whole country," he said.

Investment in the EEC this year involved 225 projects worth 85.48 billion baht, according to the Board of Investment (BoI).

Total investment was 158.89 billion baht, down 17% from the same period last year's total of 190.33 billion baht, the BoI said.

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