3 major rail projects put on stand-by

3 major rail projects put on stand-by

Contracts for three large-scale projects under the Transport Ministry's infrastructure development plan will not be ready for signing this year, says deputy transport permanent secretary Peerapol Thavornsuphacharoen.

His remarks came after a ministry meeting to follow up on major transport projects worth a combined 1.79 trillion baht.

In December last year, the cabinet approved action plans for 20 projects, including the three large-scale projects mentioned by Mr Peerapol.

The projects are part of the government's ambitious 2015-2022 development plan to stimulate the economy and boost investment.

The 20 projects cover rail, maritime and air transport.

Mr Peerapol said the three projects are the Pink Line electric train from Khae Rai to Min Buri, worth 56.6 billion baht; the Yellow Line electric train from Lat Phrao to Samrong, worth 54.6 billion baht; and the joint Thai-Japanese double-track Kanchanaburi-Bangkok-Chachoengsao-Aranyaprathet and Bangkok-Chiang Mai rail routes.

The delay in signing the Pink and Yellow Line contracts stems from problems encountered in the preparation and coordination stages as many agencies are involved, according to the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA).

The Pink and Yellow Line projects are part of a public–private partnership scheme in which a private party is allowed to get involved in a government project to assume financial, technical and operational risks.

Mr Peerapol said the ministry ordered the MRTA to rework the timelines for the Pink and Yellow Line projects and submit them to the ministry for a decision.

As for the joint Thai-Japanese double-track rail venture, Mr Peerapol said a feasibility study for the project had not been completed.

Japan would submit the study's findings to Thailand in June, he said.

The other 17 projects will be signed within this year, he added.

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