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Thailand-China High-Speed Rail Talks Get Cabinet Go-Ahead


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#1 webfact

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Posted 2010-09-08 07:18:48

Rail talks get Cabinet go-ahead
By PIYANART SRIVALO
THE NATION

The Cabinet has approved in principle a framework for negotiations between the government and China on a high-speed-train project, which is part of a planned transnational railway linking China to Southeast Asia.
Because the framework for negotiations seeks an international agreement, it will have to be approved by Parliament before the government can settle down to negotiate with its Chinese counterpart.


However, the Cabinet rejected a proposal from the Transport Ministry that US$400 million (Bt12.47 billion) in export buyers' credits be sought from China to finance the railway project.

The Transport Ministry informed the Cabinet yesterday of progress in the plan to cooperate with China on the high-speed-train project. The project will have two phases: from Nong Khai in the Northeast to Bangkok, from Bangkok to Rayong and from Bangkok to Padang Besar, on the border with Malaysia. The transnational line will start from Kunming in China's southwestern Yunnan province and run south to Thailand through Laos and Vietnam.

The entire project, from Nong Khai to Bangkok and Rayong, and from Bangkok to Padang Besar, will cost almost Bt350 billion. The railway tracks will be built in parallel with existing tracks, but with a wider gauge of 1.4 metres, instead of the current gauge of 1 metre.

China's representative in charge of the project, Zheng Mingli, visited Thailand last month and met Transport Minister Sophon Saram. Together, they surveyed the Nong Khai-Bangkok route and held a tripartite meeting with representatives from Laos.

According to the Cabinet document, a preliminary study of the Nong Khai-Bangkok route says it will cover a total distance of 615 kilometres. The track will run through a tunnel of about 10km and will be elevated over a distance of 59km.

The high-speed train will travel at no less than 200 kilometres per hour. It will be electrically powered, and studies have shown that existing power supplies will be sufficient.

Since the railway will have to cross the mekong River, the Laotian representatives have requested bilateral talks first, so that Thailand and Laos can agree on the project before China is brought to the negotiating table.

Sophon travelled to China on August 26 for further discussions regarding cooperation on the railway project with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing. The Thai side informed the Chinese that the high-speed-rail project would be implemented from 2010 to 2014, and was regarded as part of a drastic reform of the Thai railway system.

On China's part, it will build a standard railway from Kunming to Vientiane, covering a distance of 420km. This line will then link with Thailand across the mekong River to Nong Khai before continuing to Bangkok and Rayong.

China says it is willing to provide support in manpower, training and technology transfer to the State Railway of Thailand.

The Cabinet has assigned the Transport Ministry to conduct a public hearing on the high-speed-train project, in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution.

The Cabinet was also told that during Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's visit to China in June, there were bilateral discussions on cooperation to build the high-speed-rail project.


-- The Nation 2010-09-08



#2 svenivan

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Posted 2010-09-08 08:30:46

I read a month ago about a new railroad from Chiang Khong in northern Thailand to connect to existing railroad in Lampang area.

Is that project in the bin already? <_<

:o :blink: :huh:

#3 Piengrudee

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Posted 2010-09-08 08:50:22

I believe the train project clash before it even started. Too many corruption is waiting already.

#4 gotlost

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Posted 2010-09-08 09:39:41

I read a month ago about a new railroad from Chiang Khong in northern Thailand to connect to existing railroad in Lampang area.

Is that project in the bin already?

#5 bubba

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Posted 2010-09-08 10:06:55

I guess I don't understand why Thailand is paying for a new, modern rail system from China, which will undoubtedly favour China by way of cheaper and larger amounts of exports from China to Thailand. Further, the Chinese would love access to a southern port (Rayong in this case) to speed even more exports out to sea. So why is Thailand seeking to finance this project?

Kasikorn Bank Research Centre published a report a couple of weeks ago that states:

Although China has played an increasingly important role as a major export market for the Kingdom (recently replacing the USA as Thailandís largest export market), it is noticeable that Thailand has always sustained trade deficits with China. In 1H10, this figure reached USD1,319.8 million, which was higher than Thailandís overall trade deficit for 2009 at USD909.5 million. Therefore, if our exports to China continue to lag behind Chinese imports over the remainder of 2010, the 2010 deficit will surely be more than double that of 2009.

http://www.kasikornr...spx?docid=25636

A new rail line direct from China to Thailand wasn't figured in to that doubling of the trade imbalance of course.

By way of background, how many remember Thaksin's successful effort to push through the China-Thailand free trade agreement, which resulted in immediate, unrestricted, and duty-free exports of nearly all Chinese agricultural products to Thailand? The only Thais that benefited from that were large agricultural conglomerate middle-men (such as CP) who made money on trading the cheap Chinese imports. I wonder why Puea Thai never remind the northern Thai farmers of this work of art?

#6 Pib

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Posted 2010-09-08 10:15:45

This project will only get off the ground if Thailand can clearly, quickly, and continuously profit off of it...and of course get China to finance/pay for it and allow Thai's to build & maintain the Thailand portion. Sounds like a good infrastructure project on the surface; but the devil is in the details

#7 alant

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Posted 2010-09-08 10:27:24

this will be interesting if it is to follow the existing lines, 200km per hour around those nice twisty mountain areasPosted Image

#8 Foggy Bottom

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Posted 2010-09-08 11:47:58

this will be interesting if it is to follow the existing lines, 200km per hour around those nice twisty mountain areasPosted Image



That'll be why the OP mentioned the tunnels and elevated sections, of course.

My query would be whether this is to be purely a cargo route, or to also be a passenger route?

Also, are they going to set up special "buffalo rangers" to keep the lines clear, or (ye gods alive) implement security fencing along both sides of the tracks like most developed countries do, to keep livestock and locals off the lines.

I had to chuckle at the quote saying existing power supplies are sufficient - that may be so in terms of power levels, but are they constant enough? Wonders how many times the high speed, 200Kph train would stall between Nong Khai and Pedang Besar due to local power cuts and brown outs?

Hmmm

#9 fresnoboy

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Posted 2010-09-08 12:28:46

High-Speed Rail ? 55555555555555 LMAO
That's like the Monorail Project for Pattaya. IF it happens, it will be too expensive for common people ( by that I mean ME ) to use.
I don't have statistics or percentages, it's just my opinion. We all know what that's worth :D

#10 swifty5x5

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Posted 2010-09-08 12:29:20

Who's goin to be drivin these high speed trains?:whistling:

#11 Pib

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Posted 2010-09-08 13:09:44

Thai drivers of course as they are use to going really fast on roads. ;)

#12 expat4life

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Posted 2010-09-08 14:12:46

I ask yet again when the "The Alien Business Law and restricted occupations" was changed ? specifically Driving motor vehicles or non-motorised carriers, except for piloting international aircraft.

#13 rubl

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Posted 2010-09-08 14:18:10

China's representative in charge of the project, Zheng Mingli, visited Thailand last month and met Transport Minister Sophon Saram. Together, they surveyed the Nong Khai-Bangkok route and held a tripartite meeting with representatives from Laos.

In a single month they surveyed the NongKhai-Bangkok route, together. Whow.
Quality work as well I guess ?

Edited by rubl, 2010-09-08 14:19:08.


#14 asiawatcher

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Posted 2010-09-08 17:57:57

China is just looking for ways to place more substandard goods into to more markets and opening a rail link into Thailand will undermine quality of what Thai's produce.

Then this...
"Sophon travelled to China on August 26 for further discussions regarding cooperation on the railway project with his Chinese counterpart in Beijing. The Thai side informed the Chinese that the high-speed-rail project would be implemented from 2010 to 2014, and was regarded as part of a drastic reform of the Thai railway system."



I can just see Thailand upgrading it's 'rail' system for high speed connectivity. Imagine the old red, white and blue clunkers they have now doing any sort of speed on tracks on sleepers that barely hold together now!

#15 bkk_mike

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Posted 2010-09-08 18:37:06

The transnational line will start from Kunming in China's southwestern Yunnan province and run south to Thailand through Laos and Vietnam.


Either my geography is awful or they're taking a rather roundabout route from Yunnan to Nong Khai if they're going through Vietnam.

edit:
Actually - looked at a map - and the main road from Kunming goes SouthEast to Hanoi, then southwest to Vientiane, so the train may simply follow the road.
However, if it's going to Hanoi, why not just extend the existing train line to Hanoi from Guangxi rather than have a new one from Kunming.

Edited by bkk_mike, 2010-09-08 18:42:34.


#16 sirchai

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Posted 2010-09-08 19:40:50

Who's goin to be drivin these high speed trains?:whistling:



I guess German or French high speed Freaks........:ph34r:

#17 wileycoyote

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Posted 2010-09-08 21:28:32

How are they going to offer connections if the rolling stock they are using are 2 different gauges ?

Consequently ,passengers will have to embark/disembark at (border) stations ,instead of doing border vias checks on board the train ,with subsequent delays.

There will also to have considerable track maintenance,improvment of signalling and refurbishment of stations

Without being pessimistic ,this has got lots of practical problems to be resolved.

#18 sirchai

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Posted 2010-09-09 02:24:34

this will be interesting if it is to follow the existing lines, 200km per hour around those nice twisty mountain areasPosted Image



Shame on their Chinese connections. Only Chinese guys are selling gold here, the biggest pig farms run by them.And so on.....

Why don't they built a high speed train system in their own country, starting from Mae Sot down to Phuket town?

Let's say Sisaket to Bangkok in three, instead of 10 hours......:jap:

#19 Ricardo

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Posted 2010-09-09 09:50:34

How are they going to offer connections if the rolling stock they are using are 2 different gauges ?

Consequently ,passengers will have to embark/disembark at (border) stations ,instead of doing border vias checks on board the train ,with subsequent delays.

There will also to have considerable track maintenance,improvment of signalling and refurbishment of stations

Without being pessimistic ,this has got lots of practical problems to be resolved.

According to the OP, the entire project will be the new 1.4m gauge, which perhaps makes some sort of sense.

Rather than even trying to upgrade the existing dilapidated rail-network, just start from scratch with a proper new one, with full management-control retained by the people paying for the project, one hopes. :whistling:

#20 newermonkey

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Posted 2010-09-09 11:21:05

I believe the train project clash before it even started. Too many corruption is waiting already.


You are so right!
Like many proposed "great" projects in the past, they have all been killed off because of the unmanageable ques of greedy people waiting to get their hands in the cookie jar, added to that this project involves China, one of the most corrupt nations on the planet.
This project will never get rolling!

#21 Thai at Heart

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Posted 2010-09-09 11:44:38

How are they going to widen the lines or build a new line that run for example slap bang through the centre of the provincial cities like Khon Kaen? I can see the land prices for properties around the railway lines rocketing.

There is a lot of fat on this bone.

#22 bubba

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Posted 2010-09-09 12:17:55

Anyone remember this ridiculous project: The 1.2 billion baht Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son cable car project?

Study begins into ambitious 140km Mae Hong Son cable car project

Feasibility and environmental impact analysis studies were actually funded and conducted through contracts with three different universities! Of course nobody was surprised that the studies were as far as it went, but someone made some money just doing the studies. This project will require MUCH larger "studies".

#23 rubl

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Posted 2010-09-09 12:29:07


I believe the train project clash before it even started. Too many corruption is waiting already.


You are so right!
Like many proposed "great" projects in the past, they have all been killed off because of the unmanageable ques of greedy people waiting to get their hands in the cookie jar, added to that this project involves China, one of the most corrupt nations on the planet.
This project will never get rolling!

Lots of great plans have been allowed to gracefully fade away because they were ridiculous in the first place.





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