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Thai-Chinese high-speed railway agreements near completion


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The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) anticipates the closure of the final chapters in the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway’s first phase, reveals Deputy Transport Minister Surapong Piyachote.

 

Spanning 251 kilometres and boasting a staggering budget of 179.4 billion baht, the ambitious project links the bustling heart of Bangkok to the vibrant cityscape of Nakhon Ratchasima. Divided into 14 meticulously crafted contracts, only two remain awaiting the stroke of the pen, said Surapong.

 

“Contract No. 4-5, tasked with the 13.3 kilometre Ban Pho–Phra Kaeo section in Ayutthaya, is on the cusp of fruition with a budget of 9.9 billion baht. Pending only the completion of a heritage impact assessment (HIA) report on the proposed Ayutthaya station.”

 

Surapong reveals further that the Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy is poised to submit the HIA report to Unesco imminently.

 

“Approval is anticipated, given the scrutiny by the UN agency throughout the HIA process. The railway and station, strategically planned away from Ayutthaya’s World Heritage site, should encounter no hurdles.”

 

Meanwhile, Contract No. 4-1 hangs in the balance, tethered to a 15.2-kilometre segment between Bang Sue and Don Muang in Bangkok. Originally envisioned as part of the high-speed railway network linking three major airports, its fate rests on the Board of Investment’s (BoI) impending decision, reported Bangkok Post.

 

“Without BoI’s green light by May 22, alternative routes beckon. SRT might seize the reins solely for the Bang Sue-Don Muang stretch, a crucial lifeline to salvage the project’s punctuality.”

 

Amidst delays plaguing the venture since its 2015 inception, the finish line now glimmers on the horizon: 2028.

 

In related news, a replica of China’s Fuxing bullet train, bedecked in Thailand’s national colours and gifted during the 29th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Bangkok in November 2022, now finds itself at the epicentre of a transformative railway saga between China and Thailand.

 

As the wheels of progress turn, the construction of the China-Thailand Railway, a flagship venture under the Belt and Road cooperation framework, gains pace, promising to redefine Southeast Asia’s transportation landscape with cutting-edge rail technology.

 

By Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Caption: Photo courtesy of Bangkok Post

 

Source: The Thaiger 2024-04-19

 

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But, are there any reliable construction companies in either country and will there be adequate government oversight during the construction process ?     

 

 

 

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How is this project being financed? Is Thailand borrowing the money from China?

 

The China-Thailand high speed railway goes through Laos. Laos has been devastated with debt burden imposed by the Chinese railway. Lots of government revenues are going to service the debt (pay the interest) and other infrastructure is suffering from a lack of maintenance. Highways are a wreck, government is making special concessions to China just to get some more revenue to pay for railway. The train fares are reasonable based on Laos salaries but don't even cover the operating costs, and contribute nothing for repaying the capital investment.

 

Is Thailand being sucked into the rabbit hole?

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6 hours ago, Banana7 said:

How is this project being financed? Is Thailand borrowing the money from China?

 

The China-Thailand high speed railway goes through Laos. Laos has been devastated with debt burden imposed by the Chinese railway. Lots of government revenues are going to service the debt (pay the interest) and other infrastructure is suffering from a lack of maintenance. Highways are a wreck, government is making special concessions to China just to get some more revenue to pay for railway. The train fares are reasonable based on Laos salaries but don't even cover the operating costs, and contribute nothing for repaying the capital investment.

 

Is Thailand being sucked into the rabbit hole?

This is happening in many countries, who needs to go to war when you can take over by soft power, i.e money leanding. When the countries default then Chinese companies take over the running of the ports, railways etc..

 

Other ways they take over is we buy goods on line from Lazada, it is shipped arrives in Thailand then is delivered to you by Kerry, the chain from start to finish is China owned and the profits go back to China.

 

There have been a number of well written reports on how China's loans are effecting the countries, here is a link to one from May 2023.

https://apnews.com/article/china-debt-banking-loans-financial-developing-countries-collapse-8df6f9fac3e1e758d0e6d8d5dfbd3ed6

Edited by stupidfarang
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