|Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith|
Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith said that the first phase of the project involves a length of 252.3 kilometers, from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima province, which is also referred to as Khorat. It requires an investment of about 179.4 billion baht.
Thailand will seek domestic funding sources to finance the project. Out of the investment fund, about 2.65 billion baht will be spent on the project in 2017, 43 billion baht in 2018, 62 billion baht in 2019, 59.7 billion baht in 2020, and 12 billion baht in 2021.
Mr. Arkhom said that the next step is that a report on the project would be submitted to the National Legislative Assembly for acknowledgement. Then Thailand and China will sign an agreement on the design of the project at the 20th meeting of the Joint Committee on Railway Cooperation, to be held in Bangkok on 15-17 August 2017.
Another agreement on public works will be signed at the 21st meeting of the Joint Committee, which is scheduled for September. The Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima route is divided into four sections. The first section is from the Klang Dong Station to Pang Asok, covering a length of 3.5 kilometers, with an investment of 425 million baht. The construction of this section will begin in October.
The second section is from Pak Chong to Khlong Khanan Chit, covering 11 kilometers. The third section is from Kaeng Khoi to Nakhon Ratchasima, at a length of 119.5 kilometers. The fourth section is from Kaeng Khoi to Bang Sue, at a total length of 119 kilometers. The high-speed railway project is expected to be completed in late 2021.
There will be six stations along the Bangkok - Nakhon Ratchasima route. They include Bang Sue and Don Mueang stations in Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Pak Chong, and Nakhon Ratchasima.
Mr. Arkhom said that, in the second stage, the construction will continue to link Nakhon Ratchasima with Nong Khai province, with a total length of 359 kilometers. From Nong Khai, the high-speed railway project will connect Thailand with Laos and China.
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha stated that the project would benefit the people and that it would link with railway networks in Thailand and neighboring countries, as well as other nations in the framework of the "One Belt, One Road” initiative."