Department urged to hurry rail land project

Department urged to hurry rail land project

Extension of Hua Hin route under review

Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, seen here aboard a vintage VIP car at the 100th anniversary of the Hua Lamphong train station, is urging greater speed in planning for the regime's projected four high-speed train lines. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, seen here aboard a vintage VIP car at the 100th anniversary of the Hua Lamphong train station, is urging greater speed in planning for the regime's projected four high-speed train lines. (Photo by Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The Transport Ministry is being urged to speed up the drafting of land development plans associated with the planned four high-speed train routes and the Bang Sue mass transit central terminal that are expected to be worth 189 billion baht in revenue in three decades.

"We're now accelerating every project. When approved by the cabinet, the projects will be implemented this year at high speed," Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said Monday.

He was speaking after a meeting on the progress of the land development plans.

From October, requests for approving land development plans for the four high-speed train routes consisting of 18 stations can be submitted to the cabinet for consideration, he said.

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said the plans deal with land along the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima, Bangkok-Phitsanulok, Bangkok-Hua Hin and Bangkok-Rayong high-speed rail routes.

These routes consist of three, five, four and six stations respectively, he said.

Of the four routes, the Bangkok-Rayong one appeared to be most feasible and it was expected to be the first to be submitted for cabinet approval in October.

The bidding process will take place immediately after that, said Mr Arkhom.

The Bangkok-Hua Hin route, however, was still being revised to include a new proposal to extend the route further to Surat Thani, he said.

Some potential investors had suggested the route be extended to Surat Thani because operating the high-speed train service only between Bangkok and Hua Hin would be too short a route and bring few returns, he said. Stretching the route to Surat Thani would also make it more possible to extend the route further into neighbouring Malaysia in the future, he said.

Results of a preliminary study along the four high-speed rail routes show that, in a period of 30 years, the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima development, which requires about 189 billion baht in investment, is likely to generate 31.6 billion baht in total income.

The Bangkok-Phitsanulok route, which will require 224.4 billion in investment, is estimated to bring returns of 18.2 billion baht, while the Bangkok-Hua Hin route which has an investment budget of about 101.8 billion baht is estimated to bring in about 6.1 billion baht, according to the study results.

The Bangkok-Rayong route that requires an investment of about 152.5 billion baht is estimated to bring 15.8 billion baht in income, while the land development at the Bang Sue central terminal alone is estimated to bring 117 billion baht in income, according to the same study. "These developments will take the form of public-private partnership (PPP) investments," said Mr Arkhom.

More indirect income is expected to come in as a result of urbanisation of the areas that will benefit from the development of the high-speed train projects, he said. The value of this indirect income will be assessed later.

These projects will start alongside another development plan designed to enable a broader infrastructure development scheme called the Eastern Economic Corridor, Mr Somkid said.

The corridor plan consists of the Bangkok-Rayong train route, the U-Tapao aircraft repair centre, the Chuk Samet commercial pier (in Chon Buri's Sattahip district) and the ferry service from Rayong to Prachuap Khiri Khan's Pran Buri district.

The Bangkok-Rayong rail plan was expected to go to cabinet for approval in October, while plans for the pier and the U-Tapao airport are expected to follow.


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