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High-speed train from Bangkok to Rayong set for 2023

High-speed rail train from Bangkok to Rayong set for 2023

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) aims to open services for the 193-kilometre long Bangkok-Rayong high-speed Thai-Japanese railway by 2023.

 The railway project, valued at 215 billion baht, is part of a plan to establish links across the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC), initially by connecting Don Mueang airport in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan and U-tapao airport in Rayong.

The high-speed trains are set to run at 250km per hour on 1.4-metre standard gauge railways, said Chulathep Chittasombat, director of the centre that oversees railway maintenance projects under the SRT.

“This Thai-Japanese railway project will help increase commuting options for people, upgrade their quality of life and promote tourism in the region,” he said.

The SRT recently conducted public hearings in Chachoengsao to gauge local opinion on the project, which will pass through the province upon completion.

Public concern at the hearing included whether locals would still be able to access the route, due to its pricing.

Mr Chulathep said a City Line running along the same route will be offered at a different price, stopping between cities along the way.

Ticket prices for the City Line will cost 13 baht with add-ons of 2 baht per km.

According to Mr Chulathep, the City Line trains will travel at 160km per hour.

In addition to the high-speed rail services and City Line trains stopping between cities, another City Line route taking passengers from Don Mueang to Suvarnabhumi will also operate on the railways, Mr Chulathep said.

According to him, the 50km route will take two hours to travel.

All three services using the Bangkok-Rayong railway will pass through Bangkok, Samut Prakan, Chachoengsao and Chon Buri. The service will stop at Rayong.

Mr Chulathep said there will be 10 City Line stops along the route. They are Don Mueang, Bang Sue, Makkasan, Suvarnabhumi, Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Sri Racha, Pattaya, U-tapao and Rayong.

SRT reports estimate that about 103,000 people will use the route to travel from Don Mueang to Suvarnabhumi daily.

As for the high-speed route from Suvarnabhumi to Rayong, SRT reports estimate about 66,000 passengers per day, while expecting the number to increase to 362,000 by 2072.

The routing systems and services have been planned while considering information the SRT gathered from its public hearings, such as the meetings held in Chachoengsao and Chon Buri. The plans will be submitted to the EEC Board, chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, for approval within this month.

The EEC is a project implemented by the government to develop the three eastern provinces of Rayong, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao, mainly by increasing access points such as railway systems and modernising U-tapao airport.

Mr Chulathep said that construction on the high-speed railway linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao’s airports is set to begin next year.

The route will terminate service at Map Ta Phut industrial estate in Rayong. The route will take five years to complete and is valued at 21 billion baht. He said that once the plans gain approval from the EEC, an auction for private companies to oversee the plans will commence.

EEC plans are also being carried out in Bangkok. According to the SRT, the 1.4m size of the new railways will make it compatible with Bangkok’s current Airport Link lines.

Extensions that will connect the Airport Link to the new railway will be constructed from Phaya Thai-Don Mueang and Lat Krabang-Rayong.

Meanwhile, more than 500 Japanese firms led by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Investment (METI) will travel to Thailand this month. Japanese executives are set to meet Prime Minister Prayut on Sept 12 to discuss investment.