thai hsr 01

The KL-Singapore High Speed Rail project isn’t the only fast train development being ramped up in the region – news reports indicate that Thailand is moving ahead with its multi-billion dollar high-speed railway (HSR) project as well.

According to The Nation, three routes are planned to be developed initially, these being the Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Kanchanaburi-Bangkok-Laem Chabang and Bangkok-Sa Kaew lines. A further study will be done on a fourth route from Mae Sot to Mukdahan, the report adds.

Last month, it was reported that the Thai government said it would begin building a 400 billion baht (RM42.7 billion) medium-speed rail project jointly with China in September. Now, the Thai HSR is set to utilise a Japanese system – Japan has signalled a strong interest in helping to develop the project, and both parties are scheduled to sign a memorandum of cooperation later this month.

thai hsr 02

Following the signing, Japanese experts are due to visit Thailand next month and work with Thai authorities to carry out surveys of the routes and designs, a process that will take around six months, the Bangkok Post reports.

Feasability studies on the project were completed in 2012, and a master plan for the HSR published earlier (which only projected two lines, as seen above – the actual line to Laem Chabang is shorter than the initial Rayong projection) stated the system would operate on UIC-60 standard gauge trackwork, with trains running at a maximum speed of 250 km/h.

Construction of the Thai HSR is anticipated to begin next year, and issues such as financing are expected to be resolved by the end of this year.