High-speed rail in Thailand

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Thailand high-speed rail
Type High-speed rail
Status Under construction
Locale  Thailand
Operator(s) State Railway of Thailand
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
Operating speed 250 km/h (155 mph) max


In October 2010, the Thai parliament approved initial proposals for a high-speed rail (HSR) network. Five lines capable of handling 250 km/h speeds would radiate from Bangkok.[1]

In March 2013, the transport minister revealed that only one company would be selected to run all high-speed train routes, scheduled to be operational between 2018 and 2019,[2] the first 86 km section from Bang Sue to Ayuthaya was planned to be tendered in late 2013. However, a seven-month-long political crisis involving the dissolution of parliament and an annulled February 2014 election culminated in a military coup in May 2014. Subsequently, in July 2014 the new military administration deferred all HSR plans until the next civilian government is installed.

Following the military coup of May 2014 and his elevation to the office of prime minister, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha proposed connecting Bangkok to two popular resort cities, Pattaya and Hua Hin, by high-speed rail. The Transport Ministry's Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning had earlier conducted studies on both routes, they assumed that, for the Bangkok-Pattaya line, trains would run through Chachoengsao, Chonburi, and Pattaya, terminating in Rayong, a total distance of 193.5 km. Construction costs were estimated at 152 billion baht with an economic internal rate of return (EIRR) of 13 percent. Construction would take about 54 months, the route to Hua Hin would be 209 km in length with an investment cost of about 98 billion baht and EIRR of 8.1 percent. The office concluded that these routes would be of little interest to private investors due to the high investment required, coupled with a low rate of return.[3]

High-speed routes[edit]

High-Speed Corridor Route Speed (km/h) Length (km) Network Projected Operation Status
Bangkok-Phitsanulok HSR BangkokAyutthayaPhitsanulok 250 384 Japan 2025 (Forecast) Planned
Phitsanulok-Chiang Mai HSR PhitsanulokUttaraditLampangChiang Mai 250 285 Japan Unknown Planning Stage
Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima High-Speed Railway BangkokAyutthayaSaraburiNakhon Ratchasima 250 250 China 2021 Under Construction
Nakhon Ratchasima-Vientiane Railway Nakhon RatchasimaKhon KaenUdon ThaniNong KhaiVientiane Unknown 380 China Unknown Planned
Bangkok-Hua Hin High-Speed Railway BangkokNakhon PathomRatchaburiPhetchaburiHua Hin 250 211 Thai privatized Unknown EIA
Bangkok-Rayong High-Speed Railway BangkokChachoengsaoChonburiRayong 250 193.5 Thai privatized 2023 (Forecast) EIA

Bangkok-Chiang Mai Shinkansen[edit]

Japan will provide Shinkansen technology for a high-speed rail link between Bangkok and the northern city of Chiang Mai. Phase 1 will connect Bangkok to Phitsanulok.

Sino-Thai railway[edit]

The China–Thailand high-speed rail link under construction at Khon Kaen, Thailand, on 16 May 2017

In November 2014, Thailand and China signed a memorandum of understanding agreeing to construct the Thai portion of the transnational railway running from Kunming, China to the Gulf of Thailand. In November 2015, both parties agreed to a division of labour. Under the framework, a joint venture will be set up to run the project. China will conduct feasibility studies, design the system, construct tunnels and bridges, and lay track. Thailand will conduct social and environmental impact studies, expropriate land for construction, handle general civil engineering and power supply, and supply construction materials.

Once built, China will operate and maintain the system for the first three years of operation. Between the third and the seventh years, both countries will share responsibility. Later Thailand will take on responsibility with China as adviser. China will train Thai personnel to operate and maintain the system.

Dual standard-gauge tracks will be laid throughout the project; in Thailand, two routes will diverge at a junction in Kaeng Khoi District in Saraburi Province. One will connect Bangkok to Kaeng Khoi, the other route will connect Kaeng Khoi with Map Ta Phut of Rayong Province. From Kaeng Khoi tracks will lead north to Nakhon Ratchasima and on to Nong Khai Province. Construction will be divided into four sections: Bangkok-Kaeng Khoi, Map Ta Phut-Kaeng Khoi, Kaeng Khoi-Nakhon Ratchasima, Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong Khai. Construction of Thailand's 873 km (542 mi) portion of the railway system started in mid-2016 and is expected to take three years for phase 1 to Nakhon Ratchasima.

Bangkok- Nakhon Ratchasima - Nong Khai will connect to a 417 km (259 mi) line from Vientiane to the northern Lao border and a 520 km (320 mi) line from the Lao border to Kunming.[4]

In February 2018, the Thai Transport Minister stated that the next contract for the first phase - 253km Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima section - will be issued by May 2018, the 2nd contract will cover the 11km section from Sikhio to Kut Chik.[5] The first phase of the line to Nakhon Ratchasima has been divided into 14 contracts, with contracts 3-7 to be auctioned by June 2018, while contracts 8-14 will be auctioned before the end of 2018. [6]

Construction contracts and progress[edit]

The 1st phase from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima will be divided into 14 contracts:

Contract Details Distance
1 Klong Dong to Pang Asok, Nakhon Ratchasima Province (Dec 2017) 3.5 km
2 Sikhio to Kut Chik ( ? 2018) 11 km
3 11 km
4 15 km
5 11 km
6 15 km
7 11 km

Bangkok to U-Tapao Airport HSR[edit]

SRT submitted plans to build the 10 station line linking Don Muang airport, Bang Sue, Makassan, Suvarnabhumi Airport, Chonburi, Pattaya, Utapao Airport and Rayong in October 2017. Subsequently, the section to Rayong was excluded, the SRT has stated that the first tenders for the Eastern HSR line are expected to be tendered by May 2018 with a 4 months auction period before the successful bidder is awarded. [7] The cost of the project is estimated to be over 200 billion baht, of which the Thai Government will fund 123 billion baht and the private sector estimated to contribute 90 billion baht.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Thailand to negotiate with China on high-speed proposal". International Railway Journal. 2010-10-30. Archived from the original on 2010-11-01. Retrieved 2010-10-30. 
  2. ^ "Transport Minister: One firm will run all high-speed train routes". Thai Financial Post. 2013-03-21. Archived from the original on 2014-02-02. 
  3. ^ "Difficulty in implementing high-speed train to resort provinces". Mass Communication Organization of Thailand (MCOT). 2015-02-14. Archived from the original on 2015-02-15. Retrieved 15 February 2015. 
  4. ^ Jikkham, Patsara (2015-11-17). "Sino-Thai railway responsibilities set". Bangkok Post. Retrieved 18 November 2015. 
  5. ^ "Pace picks up on fast train project". The Nation. Bangkok. 9 March 2018. 
  6. ^ "New govt 'won't halt airport fast rail plan'". Bangkok Post. Bangkok. 9 March 2018. 
  7. ^ "Auction for train contracts in April". Bangkok Post. Bangkok. 28 February 2018. 
  8. ^ "New govt 'won't halt airport fast rail plan'". Bangkok Post. Bangkok. 9 March 2018.