Thailand Wants China Bangkok Railway To Be Used For Freight Only
Thailand finally gave the green light for construction to start on the first phase of the new high-speed railway which will connect China to Bangkok, however the government has said that it won't be feasible for a passenger service.
Vallobh Muangkeo, secretary general of the National Assembly of Thailand told press that the government was concerned about low demand for the new line and has called for it to be used for freight transport instead of taking passengers. The government will be forking out around 34 trillion yuan to build the railway, prompting the need for a more profitable usage.
“We will talk to China to have a clear answer first whether it should carry goods or carry passengers,” Muangkeo said confirming that the matter would still need to be resolved with China. “The costs are in the billions of dollars, so we have to have at least 9 to 10 million passengers a year compared with the population of 60 to 70 million in Thailand,” Muangkeo went on to say. “I would like to have China express clearly what the railway will be used for. Goods transport is feasible”.
The railway when completed will stretch over 1,260km from Bangkok to China's Kunming, cutting through Laos in between. Eventually plans have been voiced to extend the line all the way through Malaysia ending in Singapore.
Under the deal struck between the two nations, Thailand will finance the project and its construction while China will design it and provide engineers, track systems and equipment.