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Transport minister defends one-metre standard gauge and elevated train projects

Transport Minister Arkhom Termpittayapaisith on Monday defended the one-metre gauge dual track railway system and the elevated train projects as suitable for Thailand, claiming that the two mass transit systems had gone through strict screening procedures and feasibility studies.

His statements in support of the two train systems was in response to the opposition to the systems voiced by retired deputy national police chief, Pol Gen Salang Bunnag, in his apparent suicide note found in his body after his fatal plunge from the 7th floor of a shopping mall in Chaengwattana area on Sunday. The victim also voiced his support for auto bahn � the road system in Germany.

Minister Arkhom clarified that the one-metre gauge dual track system had been subjected to numerous discussions for the past ten years, adding that the system would enable trains to travel in opposition directions simultaneously and would speed up train travelling for humans and cargoes.

He said the one-metre gauge is standard gauge for trains in Asean region, with Myanmar, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand having a combined length of 13,660 kms of one-metre gauge rail track.

The 1.435 metre gauge is the European standard, said the minister, adding that the Bangkok-Nong Khai and Bangkok-Rayong high-speed train projects being planned by the State Railway of Thailand would adopt the European standard gauge of 1.435 metres in width.

As for the auto banh road system, he said the German road system was a closed straight road system without any intersections or connected roads in between which would be difficult to be applicable in Thailand because there are communities and houses located along all the main roads.

The best that Thailand could do � and has done � was motorways which still have entrances and exits along the way, said the minister.

Source: Thai Public Broadcasting Service (ThaiPBS)

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