13 May 2016: Following a meeting with Chinese Authorities in Beijing Thailand’s Transport Minister, Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, announced that the deal between the Chinese and Thai government to construct a 254 Km high speed rail service between Bangkok and Nakon Ratchasima is near to being concluded.
Talks had previously broken down
Following the breakdown of loan talks with China in March 2016, the Thai government has decided to wholly finance this high speed rail project, the first undertaken in Thailand.
The 254 km track is a scaled down version of a bigger project to build a 873 km high speed line between Rayong and Nongkhai via Bangkok, which the Thai government had proposing proposing to construct with the benefit of a loan as part of the ASEAN sponsored Pan Asia Railway Network. Chinese involvement in the project is now limited to supplying the expertise and the technology.
Disagreement Over The Cost
The remaining sticking point with the deal is the final cost. The Chinese authorities want to be paid $190 billion Thai Baht for the work, whilst the Thai government has estimated that the cost should be $170 billion Thai Baht. No doubt they will meet somewhere in the middle. The next meeting to discuss the different estimates of cost is scheduled for the 20th May 2016 so we keep you posted on what actually happens.