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Construction of a high-speed railway using Chinese technology is at the center of Thailand’s plan to become the logistics hub of ASEAN. All eyes are on what kind of influence China can gain by helping Thailand build its infrastructure.
The government has already begun the construction of some routes and will keep calling bids for the project, according Thai Deputy Minister of Transport Pailin Chuchottaworn.
The Thai government is pursuing an ambitious plan to build a rail network linking Thailand to other countries in the region, like Singapore and China.
China has only a decade or so of experience operating high-speed rail. But it has already caught up with Japan’s shinkansen in terms of technology .
The road to Singapore and China
“Thais will be able to take high-speed trains to the Chinese capital and Singapore from a railway station in Bang Sue in the future,” said Deputy Transport Minister Pailin Chuchottaworn.
Bangkokians may find it hard to imagine that their next trip to Beijing could begin in Bang Sue wrote recently the Bangkok Post
That will be possible once the construction of four routes for Shinkansen like high speed trains is completed and the Bang Sue railway station will be a hub of the “Trans-ASEAN Line”.
But China’s high-speed rail ambitions in Southeast Asia don’t end in Bangkok says Nikkei Asian Review. Under its planned 3,000-km pan-Asian railway network, Chinese rail lines will extend even further south, stretching through Malaysia and feeding into Singapore.
Under the government’s plan to make Thailand the logistics hub of ASEAN, the high-speed trains will be at the heart of the country’s new infrastructure system. It will be the first time Thailand will have such a modern transport network, which will cover 3,193 kilometres at a cost of about
2.07 trillion THB (67.3 billion USD).
The plan is part of China’s $1 trillion Belt and Road Initiative designed to create transport infrastructure for China to import energy and other vital resources.
The rail route will link Bang Sue with Chiang Mai in the North, Laos in the Northeast, Cambodia in the East and Malaysia in the South.
Bang Sue will be a grand station, expected to be the largest in ASEAN, according to the plan. The four-storey station will cover an area of 300,000 square metres and is planned to be surrounded by commercial areas.
Faster trips to Laos and Beijing
The first route, a Thai-Sino project linking Bangkok and Nong Khai in the far Northeast, is now under construction and is scheduled to be completed by 2023.
The route will make transport more convenient and are expected to drive the national economy forward in the long term, the official noted.
From the border line, another rail route will run to the Lao capital of Vientiane, and the last leg will take passengers to Mohan, a border town in Yunnan Province, China.
The station will also be connected the city’s Blue Line, Airport Rail Link, and rail routes to upcountry provinces.