High-speed Hua Hin line design finalised

High-speed Hua Hin line design finalised

Design work on a proposed high-speed rail route from Bangkok to Hua Hin is now complete.

Transport authorities are now drafting the terms of reference (ToR) and will call for bids among prospective investors, Transport Minister Prajin Juntong said yesterday.

The bidding is expected to be held in early August this year, following preparation of the ToR.

Then, the private company which is awarded the project can start building the route with the work likely to take two-and-a-half to three years, ACM Prajin said.

So far, three Thai firms have expressed interest in investing in the project. They are Bangkok skytrain operator BTS Group Holdings, agro-industrial conglomerate Charoen Pokphand (CP) and TTC Group, the parent company of Thai Beverage Plc.

Companies from Germany, China, Japan and Hong Kong are also eyeing the project, but the government will give priority to domestic firms, ACM Prajin said.

"Thai companies can join hands with whoever, but we want to see Thais lead the project," he said, adding that he does not want to see Thais serving as nominees for foreign investors.

The cost of the 206km Bangkok-Hua Hin route is initially estimated at 90 billion baht.

The cost is cheaper than another high-speed train project connecting Bangkok, Pattaya and Rayong, which would cost about 100 billion baht, ACM Prajin said.

Though this route, which is now being designed, covers a shorter distance of 190km, it is more expensive because the track passes mountains and river basins.

Parts of the Bangkok-Pattaya-Rayong route may also overlap with the Thai-Chinese rail road project linking Map Ta Phut in Rayong and Saraburi's Kaeng Khoi district. These problems may slow the design work, but ACM Prajin expects it to be finished in two months.

The Bangkok-Pattaya-Rayong route will go through the same stages as the Bangkok-Hua Hin line, with construction also likely to start early next year.

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