World / Asia-Pacific

China, Japan to build rail systems in eastern Thailand

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-03-03 21:19

BANGKOK - Eastern Thailand will be linked with other parts of the country by varied rail systems, confirmed Transport Minister Prajin Juntong on Tuesday.

Those rail systems include a Chinese-built medium-speed rail system which will link southern China with Thailand via northern Laos, a Japanese-built high-speed rail system and an extended Airport Link rail system, he said.

Different rail systems will keep Pattaya, Maptaput and other spots in the eastern region of the country connected with the capital in the next few years, according to the transport minister.

The 1.435-meter-wide, dual-track rail system will shuttle Chinese tourists and cargoes between Kunming, capital city of Yunnan province in southern China and the northeastern and eastern regions of Thailand.

The Chinese rail system is designed to cover 873 kilometers linking the Thai northeastern province of Nong Khai, across Mekong River from the Lao capital of Vientiane, with Kaeng Khoi junction in Thailand's central region from where one route will get down to Bangkok and the other route to Pattaya and Rayong.

The Japanese rail system is designed to transport travelers between Bangkok and Pattaya as well as a nearby Rayong province, according to Prajin.

Pattaya is largely viewed as a world-renowned seaside resort which draws millions of visitors and billions of US dollars in a year while Maptaput locates manufacturing factories and petrochemical plants.

"The kind of investment capital to finance the construction of the Japanese rail system might be decided upon within this year. It remains to be seen whether the project should be run under Public-Private Partnership funding or a private firm should be accredited to do it," said the transport minister.

In addition, another Japanese high-speed rail project will be built to link the capital with Hua Hin, a flourishing tourist resort viewed as the gateway to southern Thailand.

The Thai government is yet to consult with the Japanese government about the 196-kilometer Bangkok-Pattaya and 211- kilometer Bangkok-Hua Hin rail projects, he said.

Meanwhile, a stretch of the existing Airport Link rail system will be built to link Suvarnabhumi and Don Muang airports in Bangkok with U-tapao airport in Rayong, he added.

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