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High speed not the only risk with railway


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EDITORIAL

High speed not the only risk with railway
By The Nation

 

In its dictatorial direct dealings with China, Thailand invites international peril

 

BANGKOK: -- The government will have to formulate a completely new strategy if the planned high-speed railway is to meet national interests and enhance our own economic development rather than merely serving China’s needs.

 

As it stands, the deal being negotiated with China to build a Bt179-billion, 250-kilometre line linking Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima appears to accommodate only China’s ambitious Road and Belt Initiative. It has meanwhile set a poor precedent for Thailand’s international engagement.

 

The government blundered at the outset by allowing politics to intrude on infrastructure planning. Stung by criticism from the West and Japan for suppressing democracy, it chose China to build the railway. An agreement was signed to jointly develop the rail transport system in December 2014. Visiting Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made clear Beijing’s intentions to dominate such infrastructure development in the region and he wanted the railway deal with Thailand to serve as incentive for our neighbours.

 

China has been open about its desire to export rail technology to the world, even if in direct competition with other countries. It has a clear strategy for doing so. Thailand, in striving to meet its own domestic needs, has relied more on improvisation, and no one in government has yet been able to explain exactly why we need a high-speed railway, a proposal always shunned previously as being without merit and simply too expensive.

 

The long-mooted rail project had become politicised even before General Prayut Chan-o-cha staged his coup. Opponents of the Yingluck Shinawatra administration warned that its grand infrastructure plans, including a high-speed train, would sink the country in debt. The Prayut government initially kept clear of the railway idea, but China’s offer to help build it came just as the junta was desperately seeking international recognition. It had been considering a medium-speed railway linking several places, including the Eastern Seaboard. Higher speed was “politically incorrect” until Prayut declared his government’s readiness to foot the bill for a fast train built with Chinese technology.

 

Having signed a preliminary agreement with Beijing, Thailand’s hands are now all but tied, leaving little if any choice but to work with China and use its technology, personnel and resources. Negotiations over the past two and a half years have mainly addressed China’s terms and conditions. Thai law has been overridden to clear the way forward, in apparent contravention of international norms in business practice.

 

Prayut and his fellow generals have no experience in international affairs of this nature. They failed to realise that Thailand is legally obligated to meet various international standards. The government’s decision last week to invoke Article 44 of the interim constitution to get the railway scheme moving violates some of those international rules. Overriding Thai law so that procurements can be made and Chinese engineers can serve on the project without work permits might violate the principles of the “most favoured nation” status granted Thailand by the World Trade Organisation.

 

Where is the transparency Prayut promised on this deal if a coup-imposed privilege has to be used to bring the project about? If this railway is genuinely in the national interest, major revisions are needed in the plans and open international bidding on procurements must be permitted. In doing so, not incidentally, Thailand would be in a position to make the best choices for its future.

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/opinion/today_editorial/30318552

 
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-- © Copyright The Nation 2017-06-20
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What's wrong with China building high speed rail in Thailand?
The Chinese high speed rail I have travelled in was great. Fast comfortable and seemed of a high standard.
If the new high speed rail helps technological improvement, and helps develop the infrastructure, bring it on.

Sent from my SM-J700F using Tapatalk

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5 minutes ago, carlyai said:

What's wrong with China building high speed rail in Thailand?
The Chinese high speed rail I have travelled in was great. Fast comfortable and seemed of a high standard.
If the new high speed rail helps technological improvement, and helps develop the infrastructure, bring it on.

Sent from my SM-J700F using Tapatalk
 

I guess it's more about the high speed than that China is building it.

 

High speed trains need a free rail without any obstacles AT ALL....that's too much for the Thai, they can't guarantee that.

 

Even on highways there's soidogs/chickens/elephants/monkeys/drunk idiots/selfish idiots and much more. And did you see the fence along the highway to Pattaya? There are holes in it all the time made by people.

 

So i think for Thailand  a train which goes 120 km/hr is fast enough. The Thai police is far too weak to guarantee the traintrack to be safe.

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50 minutes ago, carlyai said:

What's wrong with China building high speed rail in Thailand?
The Chinese high speed rail I have travelled in was great. Fast comfortable and seemed of a high standard.
If the new high speed rail helps technological improvement, and helps develop the infrastructure, bring it on.

Sent from my SM-J700F using Tapatalk
 

Not so much about speed but perhaps about ignoring all sorts of standards that must be recognised internationally, doing dodgy procurement deals ( although it must be said is an absolute artform in Thailand already) and probably the biggest no no invoking 44 to let Chinese work without a work permit, almost the holy grail of sins in this country. Falang can't even cut his grass without being asked for a work permit.

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The funniest part of the latest announcement by the govt is that "technology transfer" will occur despite the invocation of S44 to overrule Thai law.  Technology transfer is when the Koreans let the Japanese build automobile factories and then later the Koreans build their own automobile factories.  Does anyone seriously think that Thailand is going to go into the high speed rail business itself?

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as a train guy ,i take every opportunity to watch them either at staions or in the yards or on the road,and i personally feel thailands trains are perfect for their user...most who ride the trains are locals with some tourists(as a novelty),i hope this wont be another (lets keep up with the jones),destroy land to build a new roadbed type deal,only then to realize (wow this does not meet our needs)..

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28 minutes ago, mikebell said:

Once built, who maintains it - Thais or Chinese?  If it's the former, include me out.

You think Chinese engineers are going to queue up at Immigration to get work extensions and permits from Labor ?

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patronage ?

cost of ticket?

water flows and heat warping,   added to already expensive maintinance schedule ,  roughly $ 200,000 per route mile, CHINA China, Mai Peng?

 Mai chop!

 

 

 

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China’s ambitious Road and Belt Initiative.

 

I think the literal meaning of this initiative is...We (China) are going to

Beat countries with our political Belt until we get our roads and rails

networks built INTO their countries......

 

Which is exactly what is happening in all countries surrounding China... 

Edited by fforest1
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33 minutes ago, YetAnother said:

since when does a military dictatorship and military generals possess talents to manage such large projects involving other countries ?

They are not going to manage anything.....The military is only clearing

the way so China can build THEIR rail project.. 

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2 hours ago, carlyai said:

Maybe sit in the back carriages?

 

They seem to keep airport runways clear of somtam sellers and golfers, so they can do it.

 

Sent from my SM-J700F using Tapatalk

 

 

 

 

Airports (International) are required to be secure...fenced completely with surveylence

Edited by ChrisY1
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As long as China makes the high speed rail with no ground level crossings anywhere in the country

the rail will be okay. I have been on the hight speed rail in China and think they know how to build

rails and roadways very well. I was most impressed in China seeing its major highways.

  Geezer

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I haven't seen the technical details of this proposed project, and I'm not sure anyone in the public has, as yet. But...

 

1. I'd seriously doubt they're planning a rail line of this length that would have NO ground-level crossings. But I sure wish they could manage that.

 

2. Apart from whomever builds the system, there's also the follow-on issues of who's going to operate and maintain it... the same guys who crashed their two SRT trains together at Hua Lamphong this past week?

 

 

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This is a silly idea, always has been, always will be. A bit like the Express Line service of the SARL, too expensive, sparse schedule, no one took it, gone and replaced with City Line service.

 

Who will take a HSR between Khorat and Bangkok if the ticket costs 1,500 THB and there are only two or three trains per day? 

 

 

 

Regarding China's rapid rail expansion, that did not come without some serious issues...

 

Boss Rail


The disaster that exposed the underside of the boom.

 

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/10/22/boss-rail

 

 

China ex-rail boss gets suspended death sentence for corruption

 

http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/asia-pacific/china-ex-rail-boss-gets-suspended-death-sentence-for-corruption

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, carlyai said:

What's wrong with China building high speed rail in Thailand?

There has been no proven economic viability to the project. Article 44 cut off planned economic studies.

Why would such studies be important before starting this project?

Prayut says it's because of "national security."

 

For the Thai taxpayer it's certainty that the project not only generates sufficient revenues to service project procurement and maintenance costs but also to build a sufficient sinking fund to cover costs for retrofits and upgrades. Economic failure will mean long-term negative cashflow that will have to be covered by higher taxes on Thai taxpayers and/or cuts in social/welfare programs. Ordinarily, if a project fails to produce adequate revenues, an owner (the Thai government in this case) could license the technology or use it for additional national projects to cover project shortfall. But Thailand will not get access to Chinese train technology.

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3 hours ago, mok199 said:

as a train guy ,i take every opportunity to watch them either at staions or in the yards or on the road,and i personally feel thailands trains are perfect for their user...most who ride the trains are locals with some tourists(as a novelty),i hope this wont be another (lets keep up with the jones),destroy land to build a new roadbed type deal,only then to realize (wow this does not meet our needs)..

I thought that all Thai's were supposed to use cars - and the ones that can't afford to drive can fly.

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Why do I get the distinct feeling that NO ONE has thought this through.

 

- There is the logistics of actually running a high speed train so it can operate SAFELY.

- Ticket costs are likely to be too high for the average Thai.  So who is the intended audience for this train?

- High speed trains run from point A to point B at, well, high speed.  They do NOT stop at every podunk village every few kilometers.

- High speed trains are people movers.  They are not for freight, and that is what Thailand needs, a good reliable medium speed rail system that can move large quantities of freight cheaply across the country.

 

This high speed train is likely to be a legacy all right, just not the kind of legacy anyone would want to lay claim to.  It will join the aircraft carrier, and the soon to be submarine as a showcase for Thailand's folly.

 

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