Thai-Japan railway to link Burma & Cambodia

Thai-Japan railway to link Burma & Cambodia

Thai-Japan railway through Kanchanaburi tried once before in 1940s but this time to feature Japanese high-speed rail & go all the way to Cambodia.


Tokyo to help with east-west rail link

Prayut will forge deal during February trip
Chatrudee Theparat

Japan will build an 874-kilometre railway linking Cambodia and Myanmar through Kanchanaburi, a cross-Southeast Asia line tried but never completed, with Prime Minister Prayut to witness a contract signing in Tokyo in two weeks.

Thailand and Japan have agreed in principle on joint development of a 1.435-metre standard-gauge rail network linking a border village in Kanchanaburi with Cambodia.

Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula said Tuesday after meeting with Hiroto Izumi, a special adviser to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, that Tokyo was willing to invest in the route to connect the Dawei project in Myanmar to Cambodia via Ban Phu Nam Ron in Kanchanaburi, Bangkok, Chachoengsao and Sa Kaeo's Aranyaprathet district.

The route offers another link between eastern and western Thailand. 

A working committee [working group] of Thais and Japanese will be set up later to work out details such as route, scale and type of investment.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is scheduled to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the rail project during his Feb 8-9 visit to Japan.

The Thailand–Burma Railway was a 415 kilometre railway that connected Burma and Thailand built by Japan in 1943 (Source: Wikipedia)

A railway from Thailand to Myanmar through Kanchanaburi has only been tried once before, but the project was halted in August, 1945.

Phu Nam Ron is best known these days as a border-crossing town for tourists and visa-runners from Thailand, seeking to visit Myanmar for a short time.

"The route will run at a speed higher than the Nong Khai-Bangkok-Map Ta Phut line [which will run at 160-180 km/h], as Japan wants to develop a genuine high-speed train with a speed of more than 200 km/h," MR Pridiyathorn said.  

Transport Minister Prajin Juntong recently said after a meeting on the Sino-Thai rail development project that Thai and Chinese officials were on the same page regarding construction of the 873-km Nong Khai-Map Ta Phut-Bangkok-Kaeng Khoi route.

Thailand and China agreed the rail route would be 1.435-metre standard gauge divided into four sections: Bangkok-Kaeng Khoi (133 km), Kaeng Khoi-Map Ta Phut (247 km), Kaeng Khoi-Nakhon Ratchasima (139 km) and Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong Khai (355 km).

The Bangkok-Kaeng Khoi and Kaeng Khoi-Map Ta Phut sections will be built under one contract. Construction of those sections is set to begin in September.

The Kaeng Khoi-Nakhon Ratchasima and Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong Khai sections will be constructed under another contract, to begin late this year or early next.

MR Pridiyathorn said Japan was being urged to invest in the Dawei project, a long-awaited joint development between Thailand and Myanmar.

"Japan was invited to become the third partner in Dawei because Dawei is a very large-scale project," he said.

"Dawei's development will see quick progress if Japan agrees to join the development."

Japan is also invited to act as an observer at a joint meeting of Thai officials and their Myanmar counterparts this week.

The two countries are scheduled to sign an agreement on the first phase of Dawei development.

MR Pridiyathorn said the official meeting of the Dawei policy panel would take place tomorrow or Friday and endorse the development projects of Italian-Thai Development Co (ITD) and Rojana Industrial Park Plc.

ITD and Rojana have proposed developing 27 sq km of industrial estates and constructing a two-lane road from the Thai border to Dawei as well as building a port and a power plant.

Dawei, a Myanmar city 350 kilometres west of Bangkok, will feature a number of megaproject investments and a special economic zone (SEZ).

Last October, the Thai and Myanmar governments agreed to revitalise the project by letting Thai firms play a bigger role in the much-delayed SEZ after Gen Prayut paid an official visit to the country.

Arkhom Termpitayapaisith, secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), previously said the initial phase would take two or three years to complete.

Thailand and Myanmar see completion of projects in the initial phase as a confidence builder for foreign investors.

A motorway connecting Dawei with Laem Chabang port in Chon Buri province is also under consideration.

When Gen Prayut met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Myanmar last November, he called on his Thai counterpart to restore a civilian-led government - but the political difference did not prevent railway contracts and other economic talks. (Photo courtesy of Government House)

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  • adviser (noun): a person who gives advice, especially somebody who knows a lot about a particular subject - ที่ปรึกษา
  • border: the official line separating two areas, regions or countries - เขตแดน อาณาเขต
  • civilian: of someone who does not belong to the armed forces or the police - พลเรือน
  • committee: a group of people who are chosen, usually by a larger group, to make decisions or to deal with a particular subject - คณะกรรมการ
  • confidence: being certain of your abilities or of having trust in people, plans, or the future - ความมั่นใจ
  • connect: to join together two or more things - เชื่อมต่อ
  • construction: the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - การก่อสร้าง
  • contract: an official written agreement - สัญญา
  • counterpart (noun): someone who has the same job or purpose as another person, but in a different country, time, situation or organisation - คนที่อยู่ในตำแหน่งเดียวกันของอีกประเทศ หรือ กลุ่มหนึ่ง
  • crossing: going from one place to another "across" something like a border road or official line -
  • deal (noun): a formal agreement, especially in business or politics - ข้อตกลง, การตกลงซื้อขาย, การซื้อขาย
  • delayed: happening at a later time than expected - เกิดขึ้นช้ากว่าปกติ
  • deputy: a person whose rank is immediately below that of the leader of an organisation - รอง
  • detail (noun): the small facts or features of something - รายละเอียด, ส่วนเล็กๆ น้อยๆ, ส่วนย่อย
  • development: the process of using an area of land, especially to make a profit by building on it, etc - การพัฒนา
  • district (noun): an area of a country, town or province, especially one that has particular features - เขต, อำเภอ, บริเวณ, แขวง
  • feature: to include someone or something as an important part - ทำให้เด่น
  • firm: a business or company - บริษัท
  • forge: to develop a successful relationship - หลอม สานสัมพันธ์
  • gauge: the distance between the rails of a railway/railroad track or the wheels of a train -
  • halt: a stop - การหยุด, การหยุดชั่วครา
  • in principle: in general terms without knowing the details or whether something is really possible - โดยหลัก
  • industrial estate: an area of land where industrial companies have their buildings - นิคมอุตสาหกรรม
  • initial: early; first - เบื้องต้น
  • invest: to spend money on something in order to make it better or more successful - ลงทุน
  • investment (noun): the act of investing money in something - การลงทุน
  • invite: to ask somebody formally to go somewhere or do something - เชิญ
  • invite: to ask somebody to come to an event - เชิญ
  • joint: done together; belonging to or shared between two or more people - ที่ร่วมกัน, ความร่วมมือกัน
  • large-scale (adjective): very big -
  • line (noun): a public transportation route that a bus or train travels along sending people from one place to another place -
  • link: to connect - เชื่อม
  • long-awaited: people have been "waiting" a "long time" for this to happen -
  • memorandum of understanding (MOU): a document used to describe a form of a written agreement between two or more groups, countries, etc. The document is not as strong as a contract but outlines a commitment between the two to work together toward the same purpose or goals -
  • National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) (noun): NESDB (National Economic and Social Development Board or "Sa-pa-pat") - Thai government planning agency for economic development, creates five year plans with an agenda of: 1. Alleviation of Poverty and Income Distribution problems, 2. Enhancing Thailand’s Competitiveness, 3. Promoting Social Capital Development, 4. Promoting Sustainable Development (Source: Wikipedia) - สำนักงานคณะกรรมการพัฒนาการเศรษฐกิจและสังคมแห่งชาติ
  • network: a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย
  • observer: a person who watches what happens but has no active part in it; a person who watches and analyses a situation - ผู้สังเกตการณ์,ผู้ออกความเห็น
  • official: someone with an important position in an organisation - เจ้าหน้าที่
  • on the same page: agree about something; have the same ideas, plans or thoughts about something -
  • partner: one of the people who owns a business and shares the profits, etc or works together with another business in an activity - หุ้นส่วน, ผู้ร่วมมือ,
  • phase: a particular period of time during the development of something - ตอน, ขั้นตอน, ช่วง, ระยะ
  • port: an area of water where ships stop, including the buildings around it - ท่าเรือ
  • prevent (verb): to stop somebody from doing something; to stop something from happening - ขัดขวาง, ป้องกัน, กัน, กีดขวาง
  • progress: the process of developing or of getting nearer to achieving or completing something - ความคืบหน้า
  • project: a planned piece of work that is designed to find information about something, to produce something new, or to improve something - โครงการ
  • rail: the whole transportation system of trains connecting stations along rail tracks - รางรถไฟ, ระบบทางรถไฟ
  • railway: the whole transportation system of trains connecting stations along rail tracks - รางรถไฟ, ระบบทางรถไฟ
  • regarding: concerning somebody/something; about somebody/something - เกี่ยวกับ
  • restore: to bring somebody/something back to a former condition, place or position - กลับคืน, กลับมารับตำแหน่ง
  • revitalise (verb): to make something stronger, more active or more healthy - ให้ชีวิตใหม่, ให้พลังใหม่
  • role: the position or purpose that someone or something has in a situation, organisation, society or relationship - บทบาท
  • route: the roads, paths, waterways, etc., used to go from one place to another - เส้นทาง
  • route: the way that planes, buses, trains, or ships travel regularly - เส้นทางของรถ เรือ เครื่องบิน,etc.
  • scale: the size or extent of something, especially when compared with something else - ขนาด, ระดับ
  • scheduled: planned to happen at a particular time or day - ตามตารางเวลา
  • section: any of the parts into which something is divided - ส่วน
  • set up: to create something or start it - ตั้งขึ้น
  • sign: sign agreement, put your signature on an agreement; agree to do something in exchange for something such as money - เซ็นสัญญา
  • talks (noun): negotiations; when two sides that disagree get together and "talk" to reach some agreement - การเจรจา, การเจรจาต่อรอง
  • urge: to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take - ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น
  • visa: an official document or mark in your passport that allows you to enter or leave a country for a specific purpose or period of time - วีซ่า, เอกสารอนุมัติที่ประทับตราบนหนังสือเดินทาง
  • visa-runner: a person going on a quick trip to another country to get a new visa, so they can stay longer in the country -
  • witness: a person who sees something happen - ผู้ที่เห็นเหตุการณ์
  • work out (verb): solve problems - แก้ปัญหา
  • working group: an group of experts brought together to work on solving some problem and achieving specified goals -
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