Thailand and Malaysia will discuss building a 1,400km Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur high-speed railway that will make the trip in six hours, and later connect to China.
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said on Wednesday Thailand had responded to Malaysia's proposal to study the railway project, and discussions would start at official level and then proceed to ministerial level.
"Thailand already has a southbound high-speed train project in the works from Bangkok to Hua Hin. Officials will look into whether that line should be extended, or if a totally new line should be built from Bangkok," the minister said.
He preferred the extension from Hua Hin district of Prachuap Khiri Khan south to tambon Padang Besar of Sadao district, Songkhla, on the Malaysian border.
Peraphon Thawornsupacharoen, deputy permanent secretary for transport, said officials of the State Railway of Thailand would start talks with Malaysian authorities. China and Japan had already expressed interest in the feasibility of a Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur high-speed railway.
The project would build on a Kuala Lumpur-Singapore express train project the Malaysian government was backing. With the Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur link, the connection could extend to Laos and China in the future, Mr Peraphon said.
Of the 1,400km distance, about 500km would be in Malaysia. It was initially expected trains would run at up to 250km an hour on the railway. That would make a Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur trip about a six-hour journey, Mr Peraphon said.