Hua Hin, Rayong to get high-speed trains

Hua Hin, Rayong to get high-speed trains

A high-speed train model is displayed in an exhibition by the State Railway of Thailand in Bangkok in March. The railway board has approved two high-speed trains for Bangkok to Hua Hin and Bangkok to Rayong. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
A high-speed train model is displayed in an exhibition by the State Railway of Thailand in Bangkok in March. The railway board has approved two high-speed trains for Bangkok to Hua Hin and Bangkok to Rayong. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The State Railway of Thailand has approved high-speed trains from Bangkok to Hua Hin in Prachuap Khiri Khan and to Rayong, costing altogether 247 billion baht. Construction is expected to start next year.

SRT chairman Sarawut Benjakul said the SRT board on Tuesday approved the Bangkok-Hua Hin link worth 94.6 billion baht and the eastern Bangkok-Rayong line estimated at 152 billion baht. The projects would be proposed to the public-private partnership policy (PPP) committee chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak and the cabinet next month.

Bidding should be completed within this year and construction could begin next year, Mr Sarawut said.

"The PPP committee considers the two high-speed train projects as fast track ones, and the SRT studied many investment options," he said.

The most feasible option was the PPP net cost approach in which the SRT would make its investment with land and the private sector would pay for the construction, collect fares and share proceeds with the state, the SRT chairman said.

The preferred investment option would minimise risks to the government and reduce its financial burden as most of the cost would rest with the private sector. The contractors will design and build the systems simultaneously and thus the construction periods could be shortened, Mr Sarawut said.

Contractors would receive 25-year concessions to operate the trains, he said. Officials earlier estimated the construction would take more than three years.

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