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Imminent Signing of Last High-Speed Rail Contracts Expected

Imminent Signing of Last High-Speed Rail Contracts Expected

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) anticipates the imminent signing of the final two construction contracts for the initial phase of the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway, as stated by Deputy Transport Minister Surapong Piyachote.

With a total budget of 179.4 billion baht, the project spans 251 kilometers, connecting Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima. The construction work is divided into 14 contracts, with only two contracts remaining to be finalized.

Contract No. 4-5 involves the 13.3-kilometer Ban Pho–Phra Kaeo section in Ayutthaya, with a budget of 9.9 billion baht. It will be signed following the completion of a heritage impact assessment (HIA) report for the proposed Ayutthaya station.

The Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy is expected to submit the HIA report to Unesco this month, with approval anticipated, given the close monitoring of the HIA process by the UN agency.

Regarding contract No. 4-1, it concerns a 15.2-kilometer section between Bang Sue and Don Muang in Bangkok. Originally designed to be linked to the high-speed railway connecting Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi, and U-tapao airports, construction of this section has been delayed as Asia Era One Company, the CP Group-led consortium holding the concession, sought to renegotiate some contract terms.

Resolution of these issues is underway, and Board of Investment (BoI) approval is expected by May 22. If BoI approval is not granted for the project, alternative solutions will need to be explored, with one possibility being sole investment by the SRT in the Bang Sue-Don Muang section to prevent further delays in the high-speed rail line’s schedule.

Initially agreed upon by Thailand and China in 2015, the first-phase line has faced multiple delays and is now slated for completion in 2028. A final decision from the SRT on this matter is expected in the coming month, according to Mr. Surapong.

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