SRT given deadline for high-speed route

SRT given deadline for high-speed route

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob has set a deadline for the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) and other parties involved in the implementation of the Thai-Chinese high-speed train project to clear all hurdles setting back construction this month, according to an SRT source.

The implementation of three of 14 construction contracts in the first phase of the high-speed rail project has been stalled while these organisations try to resolve problems surrounding them, said the source.

The first phase of the Bangkok-Nong Khai high-speed railway deals with the construction of a 253-kilometre section from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, comprising six stations and costing 117 billion baht, said the source.

Scheduled for trial runs in 2026 and due to begin operating the following year, overall construction is 12% complete and expected to be 20% finished by the end of this year, the source added.

Of the three suspended projects, two have already undergone bidding, said the source.

Known as Contract 4-5, the first of the three deals covering construction of a 13.3km section (Ban Pho-Phra Kaeo) has been put on ice pending a heritage impact assessment that was later imposed as the railway will run through Ayutthaya, a World Heritage site, the source said.

The assessment is expected to take up to 180 days.

Contract 3-1, the second project being suspended, deals with the construction of two sections (Kaeng Khoi-Klang Dong and Pang Asok-Bandai Ma) with a combined length of 30.2km, said the source.

This contract has been suspended due to an injunction given by the Supreme Administrative Court, said the source, adding this will last until the court rules on a legal dispute between the first and second winners of the bidding held previously to find a contractor for this contract.

Contract 4-1 deals with the planned construction of a 15.2km section of the high-speed railway between Bang Sue and Don Muang. It has been proposed to merge with the construction of the high-speed train system to link up Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports, said the source.

The SRT is now seeking approval from the government's working committee on the Eastern Economic Corridor policy.

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