Government of Thailand approves US$7.2 billion high-speed rail PPP

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The Government of Thailand has approved the country’s second high-speed railway PPP project, which will involve the development of a 220km line linking three international airports. It is expected to cost approximately THB225 billion (US$7.2 billion).

The high-speed train will link Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports that both serve Bangkok, and U-Tapao, a joint civil-military airport built during the Vietnam War which serves the Eastern Economic Corridor. The Eastern Economic Corridor covers three provinces on the east coast of Thailand — Rayong, Chachoengsao and Chonburi — grouped together as a focus for infrastructure development.

There would be five stations inside the Eastern Economic Corridor — Chachoengsao, Chon Buri, Si Racha, Pattaya and U-Tapao — which would boost urbanization in the region.

When completed, the high-speed trains will travel at a maximum speed of 160 km/h inside Bangkok and 250 km/h from Suvarnabhumi Airport to U-Tapao Airport. The journey from Bangkok to U-Tapao airport will take 45 minutes, compared to 2-3 hours by car.

The PPP contract term will be 50 years, including five years of construction and 45 years of operation and maintenance. The government will pay for the requisition of land while the private sector will finance the construction, purchase of trains, employment of consultants, and operation and maintenance.

The government will invest no more than THB119.4 billion (US$3.8 billion) through yearly payments which will commence after the high speed railway becomes fully operational, which is scheduled for 2023.

The next step in the process is the drafting of the terms of reference, defining what is to be achieved and how. This is will be completed as soon as possible, after which the tender will be launched.