Laos to join meetings on rail link

Laos to join meetings on rail link

Thai-China system to be discussed

Thailand and China have agreed to seek to hold a monthly tripartite meeting with Laos to review updates on the progress on their plan to connect the Thai-Chinese high-speed rail system in Thailand with Vientiane.

The agreement was reached at the 29th meeting of the joint committee on Thai-Chinese rail cooperation, held online on Friday. The meeting was co-chaired by Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob and Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission.

After discussing a proposal made by the Thai side to seek a tripartite meeting with Laos to provide regular updates on the progress of the proposed connection of the new line with Laos -- between Nong Khai and Vientiane -- both sides agreed that it should become a monthly feature, said a source at the Transport Ministry.

Also discussed on Friday was the implementation of the construction plan for the Bang Sue-Don Muang section as well as the associated high-speed project to connect Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi airport and U-Tapao airports.

At the end of discussions both sides agreed they will have to adjust certain aspects of the design details to ensure it meets Chinese standards, while China agreed to assist with any technical problems that may arise during the construction of this section of the rail route, said the source.

The 276-billion-baht airport link will run along the same track as the Thai-Chinese project's 1st phase, between Don Muang and Bang Sue.

Operators of these two projects are still in talks as to who should build the overlapping part of their rail routes.

"The high-speed train project to connect the three airports will likely have to build that specific section of the rail route while being required to use the standards set by China," said a the same source at the ministry.

Although both sides agree that the standard speed of trains should be 250 kilometres per hour, the operator of the airport link is negotiating for the speed to be lowered to 160km/h between Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports.

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