Chances that Pattaya finally gets its long-promised high speed rail link have considerably risen on Tuesday when the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) approved the construction of a high speed train link between Bangkok and Rayong.
The 193.5 kilometre route would include stops at Suvarnabhumi Airport and in Pattaya and reduce the overall travel time between the capital and Pattaya from the current two hours to just 60 minutes – a massive boost for regular commuters and tourists travelling to Pattaya.
While the profitability of the entire high-speed rail project which has been in the pipeline for almost a decade now certainly remains debatable (and only seeing is believing) it appears that at least some headway has been made.
According to a report by the Bangkok Post, the 152 billion Baht project will now be proposed to the cabinet next month. Bidding should then be completed before the end of the year year and construction could begin in 2017. It is expected that completion of the project takes “more than three years,” so if all involved parties stay on schedule Pattaya could boast a high speed rail link by 2020 at the earliest.
Under the public-private partnership approach to the project, the SRT would buy and provide the land while the private sector would pay for the construction of the rail line, operate services and share proceeds with the state.
In related news, a high speed rail link between Bangkok and Hua Hin on the other side of the Gulf of Thailand was also approved Tuesday. A high-speed train link between Bangkok and Chiang Mai is also planned.