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You Won’t Believe What’s Coming: Thailand Unveils Monster Budget for Double-Track Rail Upgrades – A New Economic Era is Dawning!

Strategically situated in the Nakhon Ratchasima province, the Ban Kradon train station is an integral part of the Chira-Khon Kaen double-track route. The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) has plans in the pipeline to carry forward the construction for the second phase of double-track upgrades linking Khon Kaen to Nong Khai. It is understood that the detailed submission will be made to the cabinet for approval alongside feedback from the Budget Bureau and the National Economics and Social Development Council (NESDC).

The project, touted to have an approximate budget of 29.7 billion baht, aims at significantly improving connectivity to the northeastern region and neighboring locales. As per director-general Pichet Kunathammarak, the SRT will make an appeal to the cabinet on Monday for financing this massive overhauling project that encompasses an area of 167 kilometres from Khon Kaen to Nong Khai. On the pretext of acquiring the necessary funding, the Budget Bureau, by utilizing the government’s annual budget, will undertake the responsibility of repaying the loan.

In addition to financing, the SRT also intends to commence the process of land expropriation for unfolding the construction work. Once approval is granted, it is estimated that this process will be accomplished by June next year. There are also plans to invite contractors through an online bidding system for the project, anticipated to wrap up in three years starting from May next year.

This robust railway upgrade will be introduced along with the nation’s first high-speed rail (HSR) line that initially aims at connecting Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima. According to Deputy Transport Minister Surapong Piyachote, the first phase of the Northeastern HSR is set to be concluded by year’s end. Furthermore, this line is poised to be integrated with the projected HSR link connecting Greater Bangkok’s three key airports, namely Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao.

Another project expected to be expedited is the double-track upgrade over a 45-km length of track connecting Hat Yai district in Songkhla to Padang Besar in adjoining Malaysia. Originally scheduled for 2029, the government plans to boost border trade by enhancing the region’s transport infrastructure, thereby advancing this 7.86 billion baht project to later this year. Transport officials have been instructed to submit their proposal regarding the Hat Yai-Padang Besar double-track upgrade to the SRT board by next week, with the cabinet set to review it come November.

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