The first phase of a high-speed railway that will eventually link the Chinese city of Kunming with Bangkok will be completed in 2026, government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said on Thursday.
The 251-kilometre first-phase line will have six stops from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima: Bangsue Grand Station, Don Muang, Ayutthaya, Saraburi and Pak Chong.
The Fuxing Hao CR300AF train — capable of carrying at least 600 passengers — is expected to be used for the project, Mr Anucha said.
The project consists of 15 construction contracts: one for system construction and 14 for civil engineering work. Construction has been completed on just one contract, with 10 others under way and three others awaiting authorities’ signatures.
According to Mr Anucha, Chinese authorities have promised the Thai government to transfer knowledge related to high-speed railway construction, including materials, constructing rail lines on different kinds of terrain, station design, and bridge and tunnel construction.
“The railway will help to enhance the country’s economy and well-being,” he said.
The rail project has been beset by delays since it was first proposed to the government back in 2010.
One major sticking point was financing, with Thailand insisting that it would fund the project, as it did not want to repeat the experiences of other countries that had borrowed from China to fund megaprojects.
In Laos, Beijing paid 70% of the costs of the Vientiane-Boten high-speed rail line and much of the Lao government’s contribution came from loans from Chinese banks.