A new railway development project that will connect marine attractions in the Gulf of Thailand to the Andaman Sea was set out in a public hearing on Friday to gauge opinion.
More than 100 people, including provincial officials and local people, yesterday attended the event in Surat Thani where they were introduced to a 77-km single-track rail line, now being studied by the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning.
The line, a combination of existing rail tracks and a new line to be built in Surat Thani, will connect with two other state plans to lay down rail tracks in Phangnga and a tram system in Phuket in the Andaman Sea.
When the three provinces are connected under the same new rail network, "we will be able to link tourist attractions in the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea", said the office's deputy chief Wilairat Sirisophonsin as she was presenting the feasibility study.
Her office is currently focusing on the study on the development of rail tracks in Surat Thani.
Its plan is to connect the Surat Thani-Ban Bo Krang stations (from Muang to Phunphin districts). New rail lines will be laid along the traffic island of Highway No.44 toward Road No.401 in Kanchanadit district before ending in Don Sak district.
Don Sak is known for serving tourists with ferries that take them from the Surat Thani mainland to three world-renowned islands in the Gulf of Thailand: Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, famous for its full moon party, and Koh Tao.
A 28.6km section, more than a third of the 77km rail project, reportedly requires land expropriation, which is why the public consultation was called.