The Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) has unveiled a 20-year master plan for rail development, worth more than 2.7 trillion baht, to facilitate special economic zones (SEZs), tourism and local development.
The plan was revealed at a hearing in Bangkok on Friday to receive feedback on the scheme.
The event was chaired by Chayatan Phromsorn, deputy director of the OTP.
More than 200 people from the state, private, education and public sectors as well as media and independent agencies attended the hearing.
According to Mr Chayatan, the plan will be divided into three periods. The short-term plan runs from this year to 2021, he said, adding the middle-term phase will be carried out between 2022 and 2026 and the long-term period will be from 2027 to 2036.
He said the OTP conducted a study and mapped out the plan which aims to develop rail networks to support SEZs and tourism as well as bolster local development.
This would help boost confidence among the public and investors and support the rail system as the country's key transport mode, he said.
The plan covers double-track rail development, stretching 2,777km; metre-gauge rail routes with a total distance of 2,352 km; standard-gauge rail routes for high-speed trains, stretching 2,457km; the establishment of container yards; and the use of electric trains for rail transport.
According to OTP sources, the master plan would need more than 2.7 trillion baht in investment.
Around 1.9 trillion baht will be funded by the state and the rest will come from the private sector.
Referring to the double-track rail routes, Mr Chayatan said the short-term plan covers three sections -- Chachoengsao-Klong Sip Kao-Kaeng Khoi; Jira-Khon Kaen; and Hua Hin-Prachuap Khiri Khan.
The middle term involves four sections -- Pak Nam Pho-Den Chai; Sriracha-Map Ta Phut; Surat Thani-Hat Yai-Songkhla; and Hat Yai-Padang Besar. The long-term section covers Den Chai-Chiang Rai and Klong Sip Kao-Aranyaprathet.
Considering the development of metre-gauge rail lines, the urgent plan covers Den Chai-Chiang Khong and Ban Phai-Nakhon Phanom, he said.
The middle-term section concerns Nakhon Sawan-Tak-Mae Sot and Kanchanaburi-Ban Phachi. The long-term section covers Map Ta Phut-Rayong-Chanthaburi-Trat; Ubon Ratchathani-Chong Mek; and Surat Thani-Donsak.
The high-speed train projects meanwhile will run between Bangkok and Rayong; from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima; and between Bangkok and Hua Hin under the urgent plan.
The middle-term plan will cover Bangkok-Phitsanulok and Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong Khai.
The long-term section will run from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai, from Hua Hin to Surat Thani and from Surat Thani to Padang Besar.
Container yards will be built in Wa Ko in Prachuap Khiri Khan and Nong Pladuk in Ratchaburi as part of the short-term plan.
They will be also set up at Hang Chat in Lampang and Saraphi in Chiang Mai in the long run.