The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is preparing to submit its fiscal 2023 budget proposal for a feasibility study of the second-phase extension of the high-speed rail project linking three major airports.
The present rail project will connect Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports in Bangkok with U-Tapao airport in Rayong which will include a Rayong-Chanthaburi-Trat link, stretching 190 kilometres.
The SRT will ask for 100 million baht to hire consultants and conduct a feasibility study for a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) investment as well as the required Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).
The process will take about 12 months, and the SRT will submit the results of the feasibility study to the committee's board in 2024, with bidding eventually pencilled in for 2026 after a round of government approvals.
"The extension to Trat requires further assessment so we want to make a start on the U-Tapao-Rayong stretch as it will promote logistics and tourism in the province," said a source on the committee, who added that the 30-km line would require a budget of around 14 billion baht.
At present, the high-speed rail linking the three major airports is being constructed by a Charoen Pokphand Group (CP)-led consortium.
The line, which is expected to be completed in the next four years, is one of the key infrastructure projects of the flagship Eastern Economic Corridor, which aims to transform Thailand into a high-tech economy.