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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin Pushes for High-Speed Railway to Transform Eastern Economic Corridor

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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, with a keen eye and a determined stride, leaned in to absorb every detail during a briefing on the development of U-Tapao airport. This airport is a critical node in the ambitious high-speed railway project set to unify three premier airports. The briefing took place in the picturesque Rayong province, a sunny Sunday backdrop adding a touch of charm. (Photo: Government House)

Fasten your seatbelts, folks! RAYONG is the name on everyone’s lips. Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin is gearing up to champion a high-speed railway project that promises to link the region’s essential airports. His mission? To transform the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) from a promising blueprint into a pulsating engine of economic activity. Expect some good news about the railway project next month, as he hopes to breathe life into this long-overdue venture.

During his visit to the aviation hub of U-Tapao airport in Ban Chang district, an important eastern province location, the prime minister ardently expressed his support for the staggering 224-billion-baht enterprise. U-Tapao airport, one of the three cornerstones of this high-speed railway dream, had high hopes of launching its rapid transit service this year. Alas, delays have encumbered this highly significant project.

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Mr. Srettha stressed the urgency of accelerating the project. “If delays conspire against the high-speed railway linking our three airports, how can we inspire confidence within the private sector?” questioned the Prime Minister, with an air of resolve. “This project is a non-negotiable. Failing to bring it to fruition would send shockwaves through investment in the EEC,” he proclaimed.

Following a comprehensive briefing by officials, Mr. Srettha promised a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, with encouraging updates anticipated by the end of next month. “This is no ordinary megaproject—it is a linchpin for our economy. Imagine concerts and festivals alight on the Eastern Seaboard. With the high-speed railway, visitors will flock with assuredness,” he enthused.

The prime minister highlighted how this high-speed train would bridge the East to Bangkok, facilitating a smoother flow of development and tourists from the bustling capital to the provinces nesting within the EEC.

Deputy government spokeswoman, Radklao Intawong, shed some light on the project’s hurdles. Initially pegged for accelerator mode in 2019, the railway’s momentum was stonewalled by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ensuing shift in consumer and tourist behavior further complicated the financial landscape of the project. “We are elbow-deep in negotiations to ensure fairness prevails,” she explained.

The high-speed railway dream took a significant step in 2018 when the Asia Era One consortium, spearheaded by the Charoen Pokphand Group, clinched the bidding to erect the rail system. Since then, both the State Railway of Thailand and the Office of the EEC have been locked in dialogue with the consortium to tweak parts of the contract, striving towards seamless completion.

The initial agreement stipulated a 111.9-billion-baht government investment, inclusive of a crucial 3.57-billion-baht for land expropriation. The government would hold off on the remaining 108.33 billion baht until the sixth year, coinciding with the advent of operational trains.

However, with the tracks of progress being slow-laid, Asia Era One has petitioned for governmental payment for ongoing construction efforts. This enterprising consortium features frontrunners like CP, Bangkok Expressway and Metro Plc, China Railway Construction Corporation, Ch Karnchang Plc, and Italian-Thai Development Plc. They hold a prized 50-year license, gracing them with commercial rights over land at stations and along the rail route.

The high-speed railway, aspirationally linking Greater Bangkok’s Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports with U-Tapao airport in Rayong, was initially slated for a 2024 commercial takeoff. This was a cornerstone for the government’s high-tech investment nucleus in the Eastern Economic Corridor. With fresh vigor and renewed commitment from the top echelons, hopes of seeing a high-speed revolution are regaining steam. Let’s stay tuned as the tracks edge closer to reality!


  1. Anna P. June 23, 2024

    This high-speed railway could really boost the economy of the Eastern Economic Corridor!

    • MaxV June 23, 2024

      Yeah, but don’t forget the environmental impact. Building such a massive project can lead to habitat destruction and increased carbon emissions.

      • Anna P. June 23, 2024

        True, but the benefits to transportation and economic growth could outweigh the negatives, especially if they implement sustainable practices.

      • GreenWarrior June 23, 2024

        As if they will actually follow through with sustainable practices! Governments always promise, but rarely deliver.

  2. John K June 23, 2024

    Why spend billions on a high-speed train when there are more pressing issues like healthcare and education? Misallocation of funds if you ask me.

    • Samantha L June 23, 2024

      Infrastructure projects like these can have long-term benefits that indirectly improve healthcare and education through economic growth.

    • Economist42 June 23, 2024

      The EEC needs this boost. It can attract foreign investors, which helps create jobs and increase GDP.

    • John K June 23, 2024

      Creating jobs is great, but you can’t neglect basic services. If the economy grows but people aren’t healthy or educated, what’s the point?

  3. Tech_guru June 23, 2024

    High-speed railways are the future! It’s about time we caught up with countries like Japan and China.

    • HistoryBuff June 23, 2024

      Let’s not romanticize it. Japan and China have different political and economic landscapes. What works for them might not work here.

  4. Kate M. June 23, 2024

    I’m excited for this project! Imagine the ease of travel between Bangkok and Rayong.

    • Travel_Lover June 23, 2024

      I couldn’t agree more! It could be a game-changer for tourism.

    • Peter G. June 23, 2024

      Don’t get your hopes up—these projects always get delayed.

  5. Kevin June 23, 2024

    Delays? That’s typical. I bet it won’t be operational until well past 2024.

    • Optimist101 June 23, 2024

      With the prime minister’s renewed commitment, it might just happen by 2024. Keep the faith!

    • Kevin June 23, 2024

      I’ll believe it when I see it. Government promises are usually hot air.

  6. BrieflyTechy June 23, 2024

    224 billion baht seems excessive for a railway. Are we sure this is the best use of government money?

    • LarryD June 23, 2024

      Infrastructure investments are costly, but if done right, they can pay off in the long run.

  7. Ravi T June 23, 2024

    China Railway Construction Corporation being involved sounds like a red flag to me. Are we compromising our sovereignty?

    • Ella S. June 23, 2024

      It’s more about strategic partnerships than compromising sovereignty. We have to work with global leaders in rail technology.

    • Patriot_99 June 23, 2024

      China has a history of debt traps. We should be cautious.

    • Ravi T June 23, 2024

      Exactly, once you’re in, it’s hard to get out. We need to tread carefully here.

  8. Sarah J June 23, 2024

    If this happens, it will definitely increase property values around the high-speed stations. Time to invest?

    • RealEstatePro June 23, 2024

      Absolutely! Early investors will reap the most benefits once the railway becomes operational.

  9. TomY June 23, 2024

    What about local businesses? Will they benefit from this project?

    • Hana L. June 23, 2024

      Definitely. Increased foot traffic can boost local economies significantly.

    • TomY June 23, 2024

      I hope so. Small businesses really need support nowadays.

  10. Eduardo June 23, 2024

    I’m skeptical. The COVID-19 pandemic has already delayed it. What other obstacles could come up?

    • Dr. Asia June 23, 2024

      Political instability could be a major roadblock. Projects like these need uninterrupted attention.

  11. Nicole R June 23, 2024

    This is going to be a huge boost for tourism! Once operational, I think it will redefine travel in Thailand.

  12. Dina_M June 23, 2024

    Are there any plans for fare affordability? High-speed trains are great but can be expensive for the average person.

  13. Arnold June 23, 2024

    The government needs to ensure that ticket prices are reasonable. Otherwise, what’s the point?

    • Sophie K June 23, 2024

      Hopefully, there will be subsidies or discounts for frequent travelers.

  14. Mark L. June 23, 2024

    Besides boosting the EEC, think of the convenience it’ll bring for commuters.

  15. Peter J June 23, 2024

    My biggest concern is the long-term maintenance. Will they be able to keep the trains running smoothly?

    • natalie_w June 23, 2024

      Good point. Maintenance is often overlooked but it’s crucial for the longevity of such projects.

    • Peter J June 23, 2024

      Exactly, there needs to be a clear plan for that too.

  16. JulesW June 23, 2024

    High-speed rail is nice, but what about upgrading existing railways first?

  17. LisaM June 23, 2024

    I just hope this isn’t another project that gets shelved in a few years. So much potential wasted!

  18. Rob Harrison June 23, 2024

    This could be Thailand’s chance to set an example for other Southeast Asian nations!

  19. Vic_12 June 23, 2024

    Not sure why people are so excited. These things always take longer and cost more than expected.

  20. ProfessorK June 23, 2024

    It’s an ambitious project, and like all ambitious projects, it comes with risks. Let’s watch how the government handles it.

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