Thailand, China launch railway project

Bangkok, Dec 19 (IANS) Thailand and China on Saturday launched a railway project, marking the beginning of bilateral cooperation to develop Thailand’s first standard-gauge double-track railway line.

A launch ceremony was held at Chiang Rak Noi Station in Ayutthaya province, where the future Operations Control Centre of the railway project will be located, Xinhua news agency reported.

The two sides are collaborating in building a medium speed railway line, using 1.435-metre standard gauge with trains operating at top speeds of 160-180 km per hour.

The 845-km line will link capital Bangkok with the northeastern city of Nong Khai near Laos.

Construction will be divided into four sections, namely, Bangkok-Kaeng Khoi, Kaeng Khoi-Map Ta Phut, Kaeng Khoi-Nakhon Ratchasima and Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong Khai.

The Joint Committee on Railway Cooperation between Thailand and China has so far held nine rounds of talks. Both sides are speeding up efforts with the goal of starting construction in May 2016.

On December 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.

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