Thai junta setsplan for fast rail links to China
In this photo taken July 10, 2014, motorcyclistsand a pedestrian wait for a train to pass as they cross a rail track inBangkok, Thailand. Thailand's military government approved a massive budget toupgrade the country's railways including high-speed rails that would eventuallylink with China as part of an eight-year plan to improve infrastructure,officials said Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong)
BANGKOK (AP) —Thailand's military government approved a massive budget to upgrade thecountry's railways including high-speed rail that would eventually link withChina as part of an eight-year plan to improve infrastructure, officials saidWednesday.
The junta approved741.46 billion baht ($23.3 billion) to build two high-speed train routes thatwill connect Thailand's industrialized eastern seaboard with its northern andthe northeastern borders, Transport Ministry permanent secretary SoithipTraisuth said.
Similar plansinitiated last year by Thailand's elected government, which was ousted in a May22 military coup, were scrapped by the Constitutional Court in March. It saidthe administration's bill to borrow 2 trillion baht ($63 billion) to fundtransport and water infrastructure was unconstitutional.
The junta's high-speedtrains will travel at 160 kilometers (99 miles) per hour, slower than proposedby the ousted government, and will eventually "provide links to the northto China and Laos and down to Malaysia and Singapore," said Soithip, whois also the acting transport minister.
China has deepenedeconomic ties with many Southeast Asia countries despite tensions overBeijing's claims to most of the South China Sea. Rail links that extend deepinto the region would boost trade and other commerce with China, the world'sNo. 2 economy.
The construction of the two routes, from Nong Khai in thenortheast and Chiang Khong in the north, will start in 2015 and should becompleted by 2021.
FILE - IN this April 5, 2013 file photo, officials from the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) wait for orders outside a train which was derailed before entering Bangkok station in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's military government approved a massive budget to upgrade the country's railways including high-speed rail that would eventually link with China as part of an eight-year plan to improve infrastructure, officials said Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Apichart Weerawong, File)
The officials didn'texplain why the junta shelved the former's government plan for a high-speedrail line that would connect Bangkok with Chiang Mai, a stronghold of oustedprime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The junta has beenconsidering total spending of 3 trillion baht ($94 billion) on transport andother infrastructure.
Under the junta'splans, Thailand will also expand dual-track railways. The spending alsoincludes the development of inter-city trains, public transportation to easecongestion yiqing001.com in Bangkok and its greater metropolitan area, expansion ofnationwide highways to support border trade and upgrades of the capacity ofports and airports.
FILE - In this April 3, 2013 file photo, a Thai Buddhist monk reads a newspaper at Hua Lampong Railway Station in Bangkok, Thailand. Thailand's military government approved a massive budget to upgrade the country's railways including high-speed rail that would eventually link with China as part of an eight-year plan to improve infrastructure, officials said Wednesday, July 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, File)
m 1 hour ago
China's propagandafor a united Asia is actually part of its One-China world ambition. It istrying to corrupt the leaders of Asia with promises of economic prosperity butonce it gains control of those countries, it will manipulate it. That's China'sevil dream. Imagine, the world's yiqing001.com/archives/219 resources getting smaller, with the populationgetting bigger. Do you think China will allow other countries to prosper overits own people??? Countries and leaders should re-think many times over whatthey are getting into if they deal with evil China.
Ron 7 hours ago
Smart move. Theprojects are needed to get people back to work and move forward. I'm sure theChinese government will provide financial support as well. The Thais are awonderful people. It pains me to see such strife in their country.
Joe T 8 hours ago
The move is goodfor Thailand's future development. The northern provinces should get a lot ofbenefits.
oldultrarunner 1 day ago
As someone wholived in Thailand, working there from 2003-2009, I can tell you that that 2021date of completion of high speed rail will likely go out to oh, around 2050. Ittook them over 7 years to finish the skytrain link to the airport. And thecurrent "new" airport was over budget and completion date by adecade. I laughed when I read the "high speed" train will travel at160K/99 mph. I lalso lived and worked in China for 3 years, and their highspeed rail is typically about twice that speed.
Timothy 20 hours ago
There needs to betwo sets of tracks. One for high speed passenger and the other for freight.
Cowbells 17 hours ago
China's high speedrail is actually pretty nice. I took one from Shanghai to Beijing whichaveraged around 270km (160 miles) per hour. If China can build such a systemwithin two decades from scratch at least technologically speaking this would befeasible anywhere.
Thai politics and culture on the other hand may delay the project a bit. Doingbusinesses in Thailand tend to be slow. Thais are rarely forthcoming with theiropinions, they tend to smile rather than to tell you what they need from you inorder to move forward. Anyhow, this project means a ton not only for Thailandbut Singapore and Malaysia. There would be a lot more synergy between thesenations once this is completed.