The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) board has approved a plan to construct a 167-kilomtre double-track rail route from Khon Kaen to Nong Khai at a cost of 29.7 billion baht, SRT governor Nirut Maneephan said yesterday.
After last Thursday's board meeting green light, the SRT is now concluding the details of the project before forwarding them to the cabinet for endorsement expected in the second quarter of next year.
The construction of the double-track rail route is expected to begin in 2023 and end in 2026, he said.
The Khon Kaen-Nong Khai route is among seven routes proposed for a second phase of the government's double-track rail system, which will span 1,483km and require 273 billion baht in funding, he said.
This particular section was singled out in one study by the SRT, as being of particular importance given that it will connect with the recently opened Lao-Chinese rail system, he said.
More importantly, the Khon Kaen-Nong Khai route is also considered to be nearest to completion having already passed the environmental impact assessment, he said, adding that the route is projected to by 2037 serve the transport of goods of up to 12 million tonnes per year and yield an 18.46% economic internal rate of return (EIRR).
The other six double-track routes are Pak Nam Pho-Den Chai, Den Chai-Chiang Mai, Chumthang Thanon Chira-Ubon Ratchathani, Chumphon-Surat Thani, Surat Thani-Chumthang Hat Yai-Songkhla, and Chumthang Hat Yai-Padang Besar.
Among them, the Pak Nam Pho-Den Chai route is seen as the second most important as it will connect with the Den Chai-Chiang Rai-Chiang Khong double-track project, he said.
The SRT's board had also approved a request for a 30-day extension of the deadline for the construction of a 750-metre skywalk being built to connect Lak Si station of the Red Line electric rail system with Chulabhorn Hospital.
Although construction of the 238.22-million-baht skywalk was due to finish today, it is only 60% complete due to the Covid-19 lockdown in June.