Thailand and Japan are about to start the first phase of a high-speed rail project connecting Bangkok and Chiang Mai province.
Officials from the Department of Rail Transport (DRT), the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, the Public Health Management Office, the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, and the State Railway of Thailand attended a recent technical meeting to review a feasibility study focusing on the project’s economy and finance. Japanese organizations such as the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and the Japanese embassy were also present.
The 688-kilometer train route will be divided into two phases, with the first spanning roughly 380 kilometers from Bangkok to Phitsanulok and the second covering another 288 kilometers from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai.
Pichet Kunadhamraks, Director-General of DRT, stated that the conference was a follow-up to the previous session, which took place on December 14, 2022, and in which participants discussed the project’s viability.
Pichet noted that the high-speed rail project is an important effort that might give economic advantages to Thailand, boost bilateral relations, and pave the way for more successful initiatives in the future.
Since 2017, the JICA has been conducting a feasibility assessment on the project in order to improve its efficacy, reduce the budget, and ensure that construction is finished on time.