Suriya outlines China visit agenda
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Suriya outlines China visit agenda

Talks will include high-speed rail plans

Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit
Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit

Transport Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit will visit China next month to discuss the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway project and further promote the 1-trillion-baht Land Bridge megaproject.

Mr Suriya said on Wednesday that he will lead a team to attend the 31st Thailand-China joint ministerial committee meeting on May 7-9.

One of the discussion topics will be the high-speed rail project to provide an update on the progress of the project's first phase linking Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima.

It will be the first face-to-face meeting in five years following the Covid-19 pandemic, he said.

Mr Suriya said the first phase is about 32% complete and is expected to be finished by 2028.

The government will also discuss its readiness to proceed with the second phase of the project connecting Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai, which could eventually link up with the Chinese-Laos high-speed train system.

The second phase of the project will be 357.12 kilometres long with a total investment of 341.35 billion baht.

The route will be divided into two parts, comprising a 202.48km elevated section and a 154.64km ground-level stretch. There will be five stations along the route: Bua Yai, Ban Phai, Khon Kaen, Udon Thani and Nong Khai.

He said details of the second phase are being examined by the National Environment Board for its environmental impact assessment (EIA). The ministry expects e-bidding will be held within the next year. The project is expected to be completed by 2031.

During his trip, the transport minister will also meet with Chinese investors to promote the Land Bridge megaproject, which aims to develop a logistics network connecting Chumphon on the Gulf of Thailand to Ranong on the Andaman coast.

The project will have deep-water ports in both provinces, a motorway cutting across the land to connect the two provinces and a railway system, he said.

The ministry will finish drafting the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) law within the fourth quarter of this year and will invite foreign investors by the fourth quarter of next year. Bidding is scheduled to take place in the second quarter of 2026 before the start of land expropriation in the fourth quarter of the same year.

Construction of the Land Bridge is expected to begin in 2026 and be ready in 2030.

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