Japan has proposed jointly developing a high-speed train project linking Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong says.
The proposal has been put to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha who has ordered the Transport Ministry to discuss with its Japanese counterpart the project details and report the results to the cabinet later this month.
Speaking yesterday after a cabinet meeting, ACM Prajin said Japan is looking at two joint double-track rail projects. They are the Bangkok-Phitsanulok-Chiang Mai route and the Kanchanaburi to Aranyaprathet line which splits in the capital to link Sa Kaeo and Laem Chabang in Chon Buri.
For the Bangkok to Chiang Mai route, Japan proposed a high-speed link since this route would cover 700km, ACM Prajin said.
The second project involves a link to the Dawei deep-sea port in Myanmar. Both routes will be 1.435-metre standard-gauge, he added.
Gen Prayut has instructed Deputy Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith to discuss the details of both projects with Japanese officials during his visit to Japan from April 23-27.
"Japan wants to invest in the Bangkok-Phitsanulok-Chiang Mai high-speed project because the project feasibility study was very favourable. However, construction of this kind of project will be expensive because of the technology involved," ACM Prajin said.
The minister also denied China was still in contention for the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route, saying China had declined to invest in the project after negotiations to build a line to Thailand from Kunming through Laos broke down.