It has recently been confirmed that the THB1.52 Trillion plan to build a high speed rail link between Bangkok, Pattaya and Rayong will go ahead. The project groups that are involved are the HNA Group from China and CITIC Construction from Hong Kong as well as the Chareon Pokphand Group based here in Thailand and will collectively be known as CP Investment Consortium.
The route will be 194 kilometres long and will run from Lat Krabang to Bang Pakong to Chonburi to Pattaya and finally onto Rayong. It has yet to be decided how the project will be split between public and private ownership with all parties having differing views. It is also unclear at the present time when the project is due for completion but ambitious claims have said that it will take around 3 years which appears to be highly unlikely. A commencement date is also yet to be announced.
The rail link will help Thailand to rapidly progress in terms of transport infrastructure bringing it more in line with countries such as Japan and Malaysia. There is little doubt that rail travel is far safer than travelling on the highways and with the large number of accidents that take place this will be reassuring news for tourists and locals alike. The news should also be a relief to many road users who will hope to see the levels of congestion eased as a result especially with regards to the number of buses.
The news is also excellent news for commuters who will see journey times slashed. The journey from Pattaya to Bangkok will now be around an hour compared with the current 2 hours that can be far longer during busy periods. The service is hoping to be based on the Japanese Bullet train idea so not only will travelers be shortening their journey times but they will be travelling in comfort as well.
Assuming that the project does indeed go ahead, there are plans for further high speed rail links to other parts of Thailand including Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Bangkok to Hua Hin. Should this all happen, travelling in Thailand will be a far less stressful experience and may actually become something quite pleasant. All this bodes well for Thailand’s future and helping the country to develop on the World stage. Only time will tell but things do appear to be moving forward.