Thailand-China railway to start construction this month

Thailand approves the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of Thailand-China railway, paving the way for the start of construction of the first 3.5-km section this month.

According to website of Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, National Environment Board of the office approved a second part of EIA of the first phase of Thailand-China railway during a meeting on Nov. 30 after approving the first part earlier this year, which means the EIA of the high-speed project is finally approved.

“The next step after the approval of the EIA would be the construction, and we selected Dec. 21 to be the date to begin the work,” said Thai Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith during a press conference at the ministry on Monday.

Arkhom told Xinhua earlier on Nov. 24 during the 22th meeting of Joint Committee on Railway Cooperation between Thailand and China that Department of Highways of his ministry would be the one to build the first 3.5-km section, while the construction of the remaining 249 km will start gradually later after being put out to tender next year.

The first phase of the high-speed project, linking Bangkok and the northeastern province of Nakhon Ratchasima, is set to cost some 179 billion baht (5.4 billion U.S. dollars) and would become Thailand’s first high-speed railway.

Arkhom also said during the 22th meeting that Thailand and China had already begun negotiation on the second phase of the project, which will link Nakhon Ratchasima with Nong Khai on Thai-Lao border as the project is set to finally connect with China-Lao railway to form an artery railway from Kunming in southern China to Bangkok.