BANGKOK: The Ministry of Transport has urged efforts to overcome a series of obstacles that have hindered the progress of the high-speed rail system between Thailand and China, which is valued at an estimated 179.41 billion baht.
Surapong Pitunpong, deputy foreign minister at the Ministry of Transport, reported that the project was delayed due to various complications. These include land survey issues, a study of the potential impact on historical sites in Ayutthaya, and issues related to infrastructure duplication.
Bitonpong said a lack of surveyors contributed to the delay. The Ministry is cooperating closely with the Land Authority to address this issue.
The planning of the high-speed train station in Ayutthaya, about 2 km from world-famous historical sites, was also affected by the Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA). Originally the multi-level station was planned to be used for long-distance trains, while the high-speed line would be on the upper level.
The requirement by the National Committee of the World Heritage Convention in 2021 to build a tunnel to cross the site or move trains added to the delay. The committee also commissioned the Railway Authority of Thailand to prepare a report on Hamad International Airport.
However, Surapong stressed that track laying for the 13.3-kilometre Ban Pho-Phra Kaeo section is expected to start in October 2023 and the draft contract for construction works is currently under review by the Public Prosecutor’s Office.
There are also concerns that the road could lead to an oversupply in some areas. Part of the route overlaps the planned high-speed connection between Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao airports in Rayong. This overlap is located between Don Mueang and Bang Sue districts.
Surapong said the Ministry of Railways will start talks with the operators of the two projects to clarify who will be responsible for this section of the line.
The contract for the construction of the railway network linking the airports has been awarded to a consortium led by the Charoen Bukvand Group (CP).
The Thai-China high-speed rail project runs 253 kilometers from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima in the northeast. It is divided into 14 nodes covering the laying of tracks, the installation of signals for high-speed trains and the purchase of trains. It should be able to reach speeds of up to 250 km / h.
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