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Thailand signs four agreements with China on development of high speed train project

Thailand and China have signed four agreements on the national high-speed rail project which is scheduled to begin construction in October of this year.

Transport minister Akhom Termphittayapaisit yesterday witnessed the signing of agreements in Beijing between Thailand and China covering the construction of the national high-speed rail project.

Four agreements were signed which covers the first phase of design and development of a high-speed rail network connecting Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima.

It is expected that following the signing of the agreements, China will be forwarding its plans for the rail project for consideration as soon as possible.

In the meantime, Thailand will be carrying out studies to gauge the environmental impact the project will have which should be completed by September � October.

In accordance with the agreements, Thailand will also be sending a first team of architects and engineers to train with Chinese experts on September 22.

First phase of the construction on the Bangkok � Nakhon Ratchasima line will start in October at the earliest.

While this is going on, plans for the construction of the 2nd phase which will connect Nakhon Ratchasima with Nong Khai will be developed.

If everything goes as scheduled the entire line should be completed by 2021-2022.

On top of this, plans to promote air travel is being looked at as well.

This stems from the fact that there are in excess of 9 million Chinese tourists to Thailand annually and the desire for increased flights will be mutually beneficial.

This is especially critical for Thailand's air travel sector which is only just recovering from the Red-Flagging by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

In preparation of the lifting of the Red Flagging, negotiations are underway to increase the number of commercial flights between both countries.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (Thai PBS)