BEIJING — The ground was broken on Dec 19 for Chinese and Thai companies to build the first standard-gauge railway in Thailand, applying China’s technology, standard and equipment, the China Railway Corporation (CRC) said.
Earlier on Dec 19, a launching ceremony was held at Chiang Rak Noi Station in central Thailand’s Ayutthaya province, according to the CRC.
Premier Li Keqiang and his Thai counterpart, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, sent each other congratulatory messages on the commencement of the cooperation project.
The 845-km railway will allow trains to operate at top speeds of 180-250 km per hour, according to the CRC.
The whole project will be divided into four sections, namely, Bangkok-Kaeng Khoi, Kaeng Khoi-Map Ta Phut, Kaeng Khoi-Nakhon Ratchasima and Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong Khai.
Chinese-built railways using advanced technologies are safe, reliable, flexible in application and cost-effective, said a CRC executive, hailing the launch of the project as a yes vote of the international community for the technological competitiveness and comprehensive advantages of Chinese-built railways.
The China-Thailand railway project, the negotiation of which was overseen by governments, will be jointly invested, built and operated by the two sides, representing a major experiment and creative move to let Chinese-built railways “go global,” the executive said.
The executive said the China-Thailand railway will be connected to the China-Laos railway, which would help promote exchanges and cooperation among the ASEAN members in trade, investment, logistics, tourism, science and technology, and culture.
The railway would also help improve transportation infrastructure, create jobs, and improve people’s living standards in Thailand.
Thailand-China cooperation in railway development will help Thailand make better use of its geographic advantages as a land transportation hub, and boost its economic growth, Governor of State Railways of Thailand Wutthichart Kalayanamitr said at the launching ceremony.
On Dec 19, 2014, Thailand and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding on railway cooperation under the Strategic Framework for Development of Thailand’s Transportation Infrastructure 2015-2022.
Over the past year, the Joint Committee on Railway Cooperation between Thailand and China has held nine rounds of talks and reached broad consensus for the two sides.