China Railway eager to push on with China-Thailand high-speed train project

China Railway eager to push on with China-Thailand high-speed train project
High-speed trains get ready to depart Beijing for Shanghai, a 1,318-kilometre trip that can take less than five hours, compared with more than 11 hours on conventional tracks.

China Railway Corporation's coordination task force for the China-Thailand Railway Project hopes that the new Thai government will continue the existing plan to modernise this country's railway sector, including the high-speed-rail project.

"A modern railway system is a necessity for Thailand's logistics system," said Yang Yong, deputy task force leader.

China Railway is the operator of China's national railway system under that country's Transport Ministry.

Yang said that in his personal view, both the caretaker Yingluck Shinawatra government and the opposition recognise that the country should modernise the sector but differ only on how to fund the project appropriately.

The dissolution of Parliament has raised uncertainties over the government's Bt2-trillion transport-infrastructure scheme, part of which is a plan to establish four high-speed railway routes connecting Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Nong Khai, Rayong and Hua Hin.

The Constitutional Court has accepted a petition to review the bill authorising the government to seek loans to implement the Bt2-trillion programme. Some parties have also questioned the financial sustainability of the scheme.

Task-force leader Huang Difu said China was keen to take part in the construction and operation of all four high-speed rail lines. Asked whether he was concerned that the project's implementation would be delayed or that the new government would revise the plan, he said he believed the Thai government would be able to solve any such problems.

Recently caretaker Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt said that although Parliament had passed the borrowing bill, the fate of the Bt2-trillion project would be up to the new government. If the court rules that the bill was constitutional and the new government does not seek royal endorsement, the bill will die automatically.

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