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Japan and Thailand to jointly build cross-country rail line in Thailand

The governments of Japan and Thailand have agreed to jointly build a standard gauge rail line that will link Thailand’s western border with Myanmar with its eastern border with Cambodia, the Thai government said last week.
 
Thailand and Japan have agreed in principle to the joint development of a 1.435-metre standard-gauge rail network that would link Cambodia in the east with Thailand’s border in Kanchanaburi province with Myanmar, Deputy Prime Minister Pridiyathorn Devakula said.
 
The route would continue from Kanchanaburi to the Dawei port project on the Andaman Sea in Myanmar, a project with a long-term plan including a deep-sea port, power plant and industrial estate.
 
Pridiyathorn said Japan has also agreed to help develop the Dawei Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Myanmar.  "Japan intends to participate in the project in terms of both technical and financial support.  This marks a big move for the Dawei project," Pridiyathorn said, adding they will likely provide soft loans.
 
Myanmar’s Vice President Nyan Tun said now, with Japan’s agreement to join the project, the huge undertaking would see quick progress although further talks with Japan are planned to sort out details.
 
Construction of the initial stage is expected to start later this year and include a small port, an industrial estate, small power plant, small reservoir, and township for the workers and links to Thailand.  It is expected to be completed in five years.
 
The rail link agreement comes less than a month after Thailand reached an agreement with China to build two north-south rail lines.
 
Thailand and China agreed the rail route would be 1.435-metre standard gauge divided into four sections: 82 miles between Bangkok and Kaeng Khoi, 153 miles between Kaeng Khoi and Map Ta Phut, 86 miles between Kaeng Khoi-Nakhon Ratchasima and 220 miles between Nakhon Ratchasima and Nong Khai.  Construction of those lines is expected to start later this year.
 
Pridiyathorn said the east-west rail line will be faster than the north-south line.  "Japan wants to develop a genuine high-speed train with a speed of more than 200 km/h (125 mph)," he said.
 
When he visits Japan on February 8-9, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the rail line.
 
Thailand currently has more than 2,700 miles of railway lines since the first still existing 44-mile link between Bangkok and Ayutthaya was completed in 1892.
 
See the original article at Thailand e-Focus

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