The Thai section of the high-speed rail link to Laos and China to be finished by 2028
A long-delayed high-speed rail link connecting Thailand, China, and Laos is expected to be completed in 2028 by the Thai government.
The first phase of the 434 billion baht project is expected to be completed by 2026, according to the Thai government.
Only 12% of the first stage has been completed, according to Director General Pichet Kunadhamraks of the Department of Rail Transport, and Thailand intends to conduct a test run by 2026 and an official inauguration by 2027.
From Bangkok to Nong Khai, a province on the country's border with Laos, a Mekong River bridge will be built to connect the China-Laos high-speed train line to Thailand's network of tracks.
Thai capital Bangkok will be connected to Nakhon Ratchasima, an Isan province, with a 253-kilometer highway that would cost 180 billion baht.
Phase two will extend northeast to the Laos border, covering 356 kilometers and costing 254 billion baht.
When Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha met with Wang Yi on Tuesday, Thailand renewed its support to the project that was first offered in 2014 as part of China's Belt and Road Initiative.
In spite of the Covid pandemic and contractual disputes, everything is "looking good," according to Thailand's director-general of the Department of East Asian Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
"There have been a few hiccups in the process, but we're moving along steadily." In order to boost regional connections, the Thai government has emphasized the necessity of this project."
Laos invested almost $6 billion in the opening of a train line to China in December of last year.