Three civil engineering contracts for the high-speed rail project between Bangkok and Nong Khai were signed on Monday.
The major transport project marks a new stage of cooperation between Thailand and China, which will see the nation’s railroads form a vital link in the region’s train network.
The contracts were signed by representatives of the State Railway of Thailand and the private firms which had been chosen to carry out the work outlined in the agreement.
The signing, which was presided over by Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob, took place at the Transport Ministry on Monday.
The contracts inked on Monday were the 4-3 contract on civil engineering works along the Nava Nakhon-Ban Pho section, valued at 11.5 billion baht; the 4-4 contract to build a maintenance depot at Chiang Rak Noi, valued at 6.5 billion baht, as well as the 4-6 contract on rail engineering work along the Phra Kaew-Saraburi section, valued at 9.4 billion baht.
Four more contracts relating to the Bangkok-Nong Khai high-speed rail will need to be signed, with bidding invitations expected to be issued later this year.
Mr Saksayam noted that the 4-1 contract, which covers works along the Bang Sue-Don Muang section, will need to be reviewed to avoid disputes, although the minister said no significant delays are expected.
A portion of land outlined in the 4-1 contract is known to overlap with another transport project, namely the high-speed rail linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-tapao airports.
The transport minister said the issue is being resolved with the tract under the 4-1 contract expected to be handed to the contractor later this year.
Mr Saksayam said a survey of the final phase of the Bangkok-Nong Khai high-speed rail, from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai, is likely to be completed by July. He also said the government wants the route to avoid town centres and act as a feeder for other transit projects.
The entire route is expected to be up and running by 2030 at the latest.
Meanwhile, SRT governor Nirut Maneephan explained that the 4-3 contract covers works on a 23-kilometre-long elevated track and other supporting infrastructure.
The 4-4 contract, he said, will see the construction of buildings for train maintenance, rail systems control operations and personnel training.
As for the 4-6 contract, Mr Nirut said the contract covers the construction of seven buildings to service the trains.