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Bangkok at the centre of huge future rail network

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China has an ambitious plan to establish three rail routes called the "Pan-Asia Railway Network" to foster rail connections between the country and mainland Southeast Asian nations, with Bangkok serving as the hub.

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Bangkok set to be hub of Pan-Asia rail routes

Amornrat Mahitthirook

China has an ambitious plan to establish three rail routes called the "Pan-Asia Railway Network" to foster rail connections between the country and mainland Southeast Asian nations, with Bangkok serving as the hub.

Thailand and China have reached an agreement to build the 845km double-track rail routes that cover the Bangkok-Kaeng Khoi-Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong Khai section, and the Kaeng Khoi-Map Ta Phut section.

The sections are only part of the Pan-Asia Railway Network's central route, which runs from the southwestern Chinese city of Kunming, through Laos, Thailand and Malaysia and ends at Singapore.

Speaking of the Thai-Shino rail development, a Transport Ministry source said consultancy firms are in the process of drafting the design and the investment plan.

The cost will be finalised in February next year and the construction will commence in May as planned, the source said.

Earlier, the talks hit snags, with China offering an interest rate for project financing higher than the government anticipated. The two sides have yet to reach an agreement, with the government now looking at exploring other financing options. The Finance Ministry is in charge of the matter.

State Railway of Thailand (SRT) governor Wutthichart Kalayanamitr said Thailand will be responsible for civil work and electricity supply, while China will deal with tunnel digging, rail bridge construction and track laying on hill slopes.

The governor said the eight-car CRH2G passenger trains will run on the line with a maximum speed of 250 km/h. A train can accommodate 613 people. HXD3B and HXD3C electric locomotives will be used to carry cargo trains at 120 km/h.

According to the source, the trains could run from Bangkok to Nong Khai in 229.5 minutes at a speed of 180 km/h.

If the speed is geared up to 250 km/h, the trains could complete the route in 179.4 minutes.

The routes will extend from Nong Khai to Tha Na Laeng in Laos, the starting point of a 418km rail link between Laos and China. The railway goes from Tha Na Laeng through Vientiane and Luang Prabang and ends at Boten, the town bordering China.

A Sino-Laos joint venture will build this Lao rail route, set for a late 2020 launch.

The lines will extend to China at Mohan in Yunnan province, the starting point of a 553km route leading to Kunming.

Of the route, a 49.3km section will stretch from Kunming to Yuxi, for which construction is projected to wrap up this month. Another 504km section will run from Yuxi to Mohan.

Work on this section started in August this year and will take six years.

The 4,500km central route stretching from Kunming to Singapore is only one of the three China rail plans under the Pan-Asia Railway Network.

Another is on the western front. This line will run trains from Kunming to Singapore through Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia with a total distance of 4,760km.

The final one is on the eastern side, running from Kunming, through Yuxi, Mengzi and leaving China at Hekou town bordering Vietnam.

They then pass through Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia and end at Singapore with 5,500km in total distance.

The central route is the shortest and would handle cargo transport from Yunnan to Thailand, according to officials. The route is expected to spur trade between Thailand and China.

The eastern route, meanwhile, takes advantage of the existing railways in Vietnam.

When the rail line between Yuxi and Mengzi is completed, the Sino-Vietnamese rail link will be established. This will be the the first part of the Pan-Asia Railway Network route to get off ground.

The western line offers access to the Dawei deep-sea port and industrial estate in Myanmar. In the future, Dawei will serve as a commercial hub linking the Indian Ocean, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

The Pan-Asia Railway Network is likely to spur trade, cultural exchanges and economic development between China and the Indochinese region, the ministry source said.

Under the network, where three rail routes pass through Bangkok, the Thai capital will become the key strategic location in the region.

Chinese cargo can be loaded onto ships in the Gulf of Thailand at ports in Bangkok and Cambodia when the network is completed.

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Vocabulary:

access : the means by which you can get into a place - การเข้าสู่

accommodate : to provide enough space for something or someone; to be able to deal with a particular amount of something - บรรจุ, จัดที่อยู่ให้

agreement (noun): an arrangement, a promise or a contract made with somebody - ข้อตกลง, คำสัญญา

ambitious : needing a great amount of skill and effort to be successful or be achieved - ใฝ่สูง, มักใหญ่ใฝ่สูง, ทะเยอทะยาน

anticipated : expected - คาดว่าจะเกิดขึ้น

border : to form a line along the edge of something - มีเขตแดนติดต่อกับ, สร้างขอบเขต

cargo : things that are being sent by ship, plane, train or truck - สินค้าที่บรรทุกและจัดส่งโดยเรือ เครื่องบินหรือรถไฟ

civil work (noun): the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings - วิศวกรรมโยธา

commence : to start; to begin - เริ่มต้น, ตั้งต้น

commercial : for business purposes - เกี่ยวกับการค้า

construction : the work of building or making something, especially buildings, bridges, etc. - การก่อสร้าง

consultancy : the service of providing expert advice and help in some area - ปรึกษา, ปรึกษาหารือ

cultural (adj.): related to the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group - วัฒนธรรม

deal with : to take appropriate action in a particular situation or according to who you are talking to, managing, etc. - รับมือ

development : a new event or stage that is likely to affect what happens in a continuing situation - ความคืบหน้า

development : the gradual growth of something so that it becomes more advanced, stronger, etc - การพัฒนา

draft : to write a document, plan, etc. that may be changed before it is finally accepted - ร่าง

establish (verb): to start something, e.g. a company, organisation, fund, project, etc. that will likely continue for a long time - สถาปนา, ก่อตั้ง, จัดตั้ง

exchange (noun): giving one thing and getting another - การแลกเปลี่ยน

existing (adj): present now; in use now; used now - ที่มีอยู่

explore : to examine something completely or carefully in order to find out more about it - สำรวจ,ตรวจ

extend (verb): to cover a particular area, distance or length of time - กว้างออกไป, ยืดออกไป, ยาวออกไป

finalise : to complete the last part of a plan, trip, project, etc - ทำให้เสร็จสมบูรณ์

Finance Ministry (noun): the ministry in charge of managing the country's money - กระทรวงการคลัง

financing : money used to run a business, an activity or a project or the source of such money - แหล่งเงินทุน

firm : a business or company - บริษัท

foster : to encourage something to develop - สนับสนุน

front : a particular area of activity - ด้าน

future : what will happen to somebody/something at a later time - อนาคต

gear up : to prepare yourself, or to prepare something for an activity or event - เตรียม (บางสิ่งเช่น เครื่องจักร) ให้พร้อมสำหรับ

get off ground (idiom): to start; to begin to be used - เริ่มต้น

handle : to deal with a situation, a person, an area of work or a strong emotion - ควบคุม, ปฏิบัติ,จัดการ

hub : the central or main part of something where there is most activity - จุดศูนย์กลาง

in charge of : to be in a position of having control over somebody/something; having responsibility for somebody/something - ดูแล, รับผิดชอบ

in the process of : currently working on .... -

industrial estate : an area of land where industrial companies have their buildings - นิคมอุตสาหกรรม

interest rate : the percentage that a bank or other financial company charges you when you borrow money, or the percentage it pays you when you keep money in an account - อัตราดอกเบี้ย

investment (noun): the act of investing money in something - การลงทุน

joint venture : a business activity carried out by two or more companies or groups - การลงทุนร่วม

launch : an event to celebrate or introduce something new - การเริ่มปฏิบัติการ, การออกตัวของสินค้า

link : a connection - การเชื่อมต่อ

load (verb): to put a lot of things into a vehicle or machine; to put bullets into a gun or ammunition into a weapon - ใส่,บรรจุ

location : where someone or something is - ที่ตั้ง,ทำเล

locomotive : the engine of a train - หัวรถจักร

mainland : a large mass of land that forms the main part of a country but does not include any islands belonging to the country - แผ่นดินใหญ่

matter : a situation or subject which is being dealt with or considered - เรื่อง, ภารกิจ, งาน

maximum : the most possible - ที่สูงสุด ที่มากที่สุด

meanwhile : at the same time - ในเวลาเดียวกัน

network : a large system of connected parts, organisations, people, etc. - เครือข่าย

offer : an act of saying that you are willing to do something for somebody or give something to somebody - เสนอเพื่อให้พิจารณา

option : a choice; something that you can choose in a particular situation - ทางเลือก

pan- (prefix): including all of something; connected with the whole of something - ทั้งหมด, ทั้งสิ้น

port : an area of water where ships stop, including the buildings around it - ท่าเรือ

projected : calculated based on information already known - คาดคะเน, ประเมิน

rail : the whole transportation system of trains connecting stations along rail tracks - รางรถไฟ, ระบบทางรถไฟ

region : a large area of land or space, usually without exact limits or borders - ภูมิภาค, ขอบเขต, แถบ, บริเวณ

responsible for : to have a duty to do something - มีความรับผิดชอบ

route : the roads used to go from one place to another - เส้นทาง

section : any of the parts into which something is divided - ส่วน

serve : to function as; to be used as - ใช้เป็น, ทำหน้าที่เป็น

set to : ready to do something - พร้อม

slope : a straight surface that has one end higher than the other - พื้นที่ลาดเอียง, ที่ลาด

snag (noun): (informal) a problem or difficulty, especially one that is small, hidden or unexpected - อุปสรรค, ปัญหาเล็กน้อย

source : someone who gives information - แหล่งข่าว

spur : to cause something to happen - ก่อให้เกิด 

state : government - รัฐบาล

strategic (adj): involving strategy and planning; important for achieving a particular goal, especially in war, business, or politics - ทางยุทธศาสตร์

stretch (verb): to spread over an area of land - ยืดออก

take advantage of (verb): to use something to get some benefit or "advantage" from - ใช้เป็นประโยชน์

track (noun): the two long metal strips that a train travels along - รางรถไฟ

trade : the buying and selling of goods and services - การค้าขาย

transport : moving people or things from one place to another - การขนส่ง

tunnel : an underground passage through which vehicles travel - อุโมงค์

wrap up : to finish - ทำให้เสร็จสิ้น

yet to : not yet - ยังไม่ได้

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