THAILAND: Work on the first of four planned high speed lines is continuing amid the ongoing political instability, the Office of Transport & Traffic Policy & Planning has confirmed.

OTTPP Director Chula Sukmanop said that efforts to finalise the route alignment and consult with local people for a 750 km route between Bangkok and Chiang Mai would be completed, and the project would ‘move forward in a transparent manner without interruption’. Following the completion of an environmental impact assessment and the development of a detailed alignment, the plans would be submitted to the cabinet for final approval. However, Sukmanop acknowledged that this is likely to be delayed pending formation of the next government.

More immediate railway investment is also facing delays. Completion of environmental assessment work for a raft of double-tracking schemes on State Railway of Thailand’s metre-gauge network is being held up pending the appointment of a permanent minister for transport, Sukmanop explained. The double-tracking projects cover Lop Buri – Pak Nam Pho (118 km, 16bn baht); Nakhon Pathom – Hua Hin (165 km, 21bn baht); Mab Ka Bao – Nakhon Ratchasima (132 km, 21bn baht); Prachuap Khiri Khan – Chumphon (167 km, 18bn baht); and Nakhon Ratchasima – Khon Kaen (185 km, 29bn baht).