China to fund Thai rail port link

Bangkok: China’s ongoing transport outreach to Southeast Asia continues. Today a memorandum of understanding was signed with Thailand to build dual-track railways. 

The two railways include a 734 km route linking Nong Khai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Saraburi's Kaeng Khoi district and Map Ta Phut Port in Rayong on Thailand’s eastern seaboard, and a 133 km line linking Bangkok and Kaeng Khoi. Both lines are built to a standard gauge, a first for Thailand and the longer one will act as a north-south standard gauge main line corridor for freight and passengers.

The MoU signing was witnessed by Thai Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and Premier Li Keqiang in Bangkok.

The rail link is part of a Chinese envisaged trans-ASEAN rail corridor from Kunming, a railway hub for southwestern China. An agreement between the governments of Laos and China envisages construction of a line across the landlocked country to link to Thailand’s Nong Khai although this development has stalled repeatedly over funding issues.  [19/12/14]

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