The government has given approval for a 220-kilometre high speed train project worth 200-billion baht to link three airports as part of the development of its eastern economic corridor (EEC).
The approval was passed by the Eastern Economic Corridor Policy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha on Monday (Feb 26).
The high speed rail network project will connect three main airports, Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao Rayong-Pattaya International Airport, spanning a distance of 220 kilometres.
The project gained impetus after U-tapao airport in Ban Chang district of Rayong was upgraded to become the 3rd international airport in the country.
Once established, the 250 km/hour high speed trains will be able to ferry passengers from Bangkok to U-tapao in Rayong province in only 45 minutes while cars normally take between 2 to 3 hours to complete this journey.
It has been revealed that fares from Makasan station to Pattaya will be around 270 baht per person while Makasan to U-tapao will be around 330 baht.
EEC secretary-general Kanit Saengsuphan said that the private sector will be invited to jointly invest in the project to lessen the burden on the state.
Open biddings are expected to be organized at the latter part of the year. After this, plans to extend the line all the way to Chanthaburi province is in the cards.
Travel time for this distance is expected to be only 120 minutes which makes the high speed trains a good alternative to cars.
As return on investment in 50 years is over 700 billion baht and portions of the eastern line will run on the existing airport rail link, private investors with winning bids will also be responsible for running the airport link which has accumulated 1.785 billion baht in losses and handle the 33 billion baht owed for the construction of the airport link.
Investors will also be responsible for expropriation of properties in Chachoengsao province for the construction of the lines.