BANGKOK – Transport minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith told Thai media today that the high speed train project from Bangkok to Chiang Mai has made further headway after the Ministry of Transport advised it will submit the project details to the Cabinet for final approval in the next few months.
According to Thai PBS Transport Minister said the project details have almost been completed with expectation that by this coming October or November, the final report would be submitted and forward to the cabinet for approval.
His assurances of the projectâ€™s headway came after a meeting with the railway development working group on Friday.
The 669-km long high speed train project from Bangkok to Chiang Mai was first initiated by the Yingluck government.
Thailand and Japan have signed an MOU to conduct the study in details, with a schedule to begin construction at the end of this year and finish in 2020. But due to high investment cost of over 400 billion baht, it was revised by the military installed government.
According to the minister, the project comprises two phases, Bangkok to Phitsanulok and Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai.
But he said there remain technical issues that Thailand has to address before going to the cabinet for approval.
Japan has proposed the use of Bang Sue station to serve as a hub of connectivity with other rail systems, and Don Mueang station as a transit point for many other transport projects.
The transport minister also said commercial development of the areas surrounding major stations like Ayutthaya, Nakhon Sawan and Phitsanulok would also be studied to see their business prospects.
He said the project has a high investment cost and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has been assigned to study the plan for commercial development.
JICA was expected to submit a report to the Transport Ministry for consideration before entering the detailed design stage.