The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has hired consultants to produce a study for the 96.7 billion baht ($3.1 billion) rail project to link Tak’s Mae Sot and Nakhon Sawan, with a deadline of next year.
The project is the first section in a planned East-West Economic Corridor double-track route, which will support transportation links to neighbouring Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos and Vietnam.
The SRT board on Thursday approved the appointment of Tesco Co, Chulalongkorn University and Design Concept Co with a budget of 161 million baht, said SRT governor Niruj Maneepun.
The joint team has been given 360 days to conduct the study, design details, and environmental impacts assessment (EIA) for the new 256km railway linking Mae Sot, Kamphaeng Phet and Nakhon Sawan.
After that, an investment model and budget for construction will be finalised.
The SRT will requisition land to build the new route, which will support transportation from the border along the East-West Corridor to the planned Nakhon Sawan-Ban Phai and Ban Phai-Nakhon Phanom rail lines, said Niruj.
The green light for the project study marked an important starting point for east-west railway, since construction of the route from Nakhon Sawan to Ban Phai in Khon Kaen was still being studied for feasibility, he added.
The East-West railway is divided into three sections – a 250km stretch from Tak to Nakhon Sawan, 291km from Nakhon Sawan to Ban Phai, and a 355km route to Nakhon Phanom.
The SRT Board acknowledged the commercial development model for a mixed-use rail hub in Bangkok.
An area of 52ha will house an exhibition centre and SRT employee housing, with the private joint investor granted a 50-year concession to manage the site, divided into four years for construction and 46 years of management.
Niruj said: “The consultant estimates the net present value [NPV] of the project is 16.8 billion baht.
“SRT’s board has acknowledged the concept but will wait for the establishment of an asset management company before forwarding it to the Cabinet for approval.”
THE NATION (THAILAND)/ASIA NEWS NETWORK