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Old April 6th, 2012, 11:47 AM   #181
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Old April 27th, 2012, 05:26 PM   #182
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Thailand High Speed Train - Counting Down to 2013

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PM accelerates high-speed train
April 26, 2012 by Rapeepat Mantanarat



BANGKOK, 26 April 2012: The Ministry of Transport hopes to set up a supervisory committee on high-speed train development led by Prime Minister Yingluck who will act as its chairperson.

She has promised to fast track decisions a declaration that might add an element of speed to a project that has almost ground to a halt.

The ministry vows that at least one high-speed train line will open before the current government’s terms ends in about three and a half years.

Based on country’s railway developments in the past that is an optimistic time-frame, one that critics will say is almost impossible to meet.

China and Japan are both interested in the first project but details of the investment, work plan and technical assistance involved have still be negotiated. Based on past rail projects the initial negotiations before any work begins on the line could take two years to complete. Also having two countries work on the projects could complicate matters.

Transport Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan said a supervisory committee on a high-speed train development will be formed first.

Apart from the Prime Minister as its chairperson it will involve the Ministry of Transport director general as a secretary together with representatives from the State Railway of Thailand and the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning.

There will be five sub-committees on the following subjects: Drafting the framework of the country’s requirements; technical specifications and engineering; finance and investment; Added value projects and system operational management.

As for international partners, Japan has conducted a study, while China signed a Memorandum of Understanding and plans its own study in three months.

“The PM was very impressed with the efficiency of the high speed train system of the two countries, during her recent visit. Therefore she wants the project to speed up so it can be an important link at ASEAN level adding weight to Thailand’s gateway status to southwest China, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia and Singapore.”

There are four planned high-speed train routes: Bangkok- Phitsanulok-Chiang Mai, 745 km, worth Bt229 billion; Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong Khai, 615 km, worth Bt201.45 billion; Bangkok-Pattaya-Rayong, 221 km, worth Bt72.27 billion (extension from the Airport Link line) and Bangkok-Hua Hin-Padang Besar, 982 km, worth Bt297.88 billion.

Deputy Transport Minister, Chatchart Sittipan, said most likely the first line would be go to the north or northeast. However, construction costs would be lower to the northeast as the route is straight and pretty flat (after a steep climb near Saraburi and Muak Lek up to the plateau and to the region’s gateway town of Nakhon Ratchashim).

He noted the terrain was tougher on the northern route that includes the country’s longest tunnel located near Lampang.

http://www.ttrweekly.com/site/2012/0...h-speed-train/
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http://www.sepo.go.th/highspeedrail/...R%20Inform.pdf
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Old May 22nd, 2012, 08:52 PM   #183
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Siemens to join bid for SRT project

The Nation May 23, 2012 1:00 am

Global giant to join hands with Cho Thavee to put in for 115 train coaches
Siemens, a global leader in high-speed rail systems, is getting ready to form a joint venture with Thai manufacturer Cho Thavee Dollasien (CTV DOLL) to participate in the upcoming bid for 115 train carriages worth Bt4.92 billion from the State Railway of Thailand (SRT).

If it wins, then this will be the first time for this global giant to enter Thailand's railway industry despite being in the Kingdom for a long time.

Hans-Joeng Grundman, chief executive officer for Siemens’ Rail Systems Division under its Infrastructure and Cities Sectorn, said yesterday that the firm and its Thai unit had already agreed to collaborate with CTV DOLL when bidding for the passenger carriages.

SRT should tender the bidding at the end of this year or early next year.

"Siemens is expected to sign a memorandum of understanding with CTV DOLL by the end of this month," Grundmann said, adding that there is a possibility of it being a 50:50 venture.

According to the bidding conditions, the winner has a minimum of 18 months to supply the coaches to SRT.

Cho Thavee Dollasien is a leading manufacturer of trailers, semi-trailers, truck bodies and catering high-loaders for flight kitchens in Asia Pacific, and is a 93:7 collaboration between Thailand's Khon Kaen Cho Thavee (1993) and Germany's Emil Doll respectively. The venture was established and registered in 1994.

CTV DOLL has offices and service partners in cities such as Oppenau in Germany, Singapore, Tokyo and Nagoya in Japan, Hong Kong and Manila in the Philippines. Exports accounted for 80 per cent of the company's trade last year.

Following a framework of the agreement, CTV DOLL's facility in Khon Kaen will be responsible for setting up manufacturing and maintenance facilities in Thailand as well as detailed engineering and assembling of the coach interiors using local materials and manufacturing and painting the chassis of the passenger cars.

Siemens, meanwhile, will be responsible for the design and providing technical supervision including assistance with car assembly at the CTV DOLL factory, detailed engineering works of the chassis, as well as manufacturing and supplying the bogies and other major equipment, Grundmann said.

"We have known CTV DOLL for five or six years and have learned that it is very capable in technical terms. That is why we decided to work with it in the upcoming SRT project," he said. Apart from Siemens, companies from South Korea, China and Japan are also interested in joining the bidding process.

"We will go step by step ... pricing is not the only factor. There are other factors too, such as quality and safety, meaning a longer lifecycle of trains that can save on maintenance," Grundmann said.

In terms of other projects, he said, Siemens was currently in the "standby" mode waiting for bidding tenders for things such as the Mass Rapid Transit Authority's Blue and Purple lines and the SRT's Red Line.

He said high-speed train projects in Thailand should focus on achieving a speed of about 160 kilometres per hour, adding that the government had told him that a high-speed train from Bangkok to Rayong was possible after the lines to Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Korat were completed.

In Asia, Siemens has won several railway-related projects in Malaysia, India, Taiwan and China.

Last year, Siemens' Rail System Division posted revenue of 3.5 billion euros (Bt140 billion), of which Asia accounted for 20 per cent, followed by the European Union at 40 per cent and Russia at 20 per cent.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/busi...-30182602.html
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Old May 24th, 2012, 09:04 PM   #184
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State committed to mass transit

Published: 23/05/2012 at 02:17 AM Newspaper

The government is committed to investing 1.64 trillion baht to develop 10 mass transit routes and logistics-related projects over the next seven years.

Transport Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan yesterday proposed infrastructure and logistics development plans through 2018 to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong. Mr Kittiratt promised to give full financial support to the projects.

Mr Jarupong said the two ministries will later establish a joint committee to refine the proposals and raise funds for development.

The two ministries agreed the government needs to speed up investment for the Asean Economic Community.

The remaining 1 trillion baht will be spent on air, water, and rail transportation infrastructure. This will include the expansion of Suvarnabhumi airport and the development of dual-track and high-speed trains.

The government said recently it would scrap bids for Red Line work to ensure it receives 70 billion baht from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to finance the project.

The State Railway of Thailand's (SRT) board earlier decided to scrap bids for the third Red Line contract, involving electrical and signalling-system work worth 26.7 billion baht, after four bidders failed to qualify.

The SRT, which supervises the Red Line, faces severe problems in undertaking the project, especially the need to remove public utilities along the route.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/...o-mass-transit
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Old May 25th, 2012, 10:37 PM   #185
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Siemens engineers venture in Khon Kaen
Published: 23/05/2012 at 09:36 AM

Siemens AG has entered into a partnership with a Khon Kaen company to assemble passenger coaches in Thailand, marking the German train giant's first foray into local manufacturing.

Grundmaan: B4.9bn bid for trains likely

This year or next, they will tender a bid of 4.9 billion baht or around 100 million to the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) to build 115 passenger trains, said Hans-Jorg Grundmann, the chief executive of Siemens' rail systems division.

He was speaking during a trip to Bangkok yesterday.

Siemens has agreed to set up a 50:50 joint venture with Cho Thavee Dollasien Ltd (CTV-Doll), which has its own factory in Khon Kaen.

Siemens' Thai partner has supplied dining cars in Thailand for many years and has a contract to refurbish SRT trains.

A memorandum of understanding for the partnership will be signed in Thailand this month, said Dr Grundmann.

CTV-Doll will be responsible for manufacturing, assembling and maintenance of the coaches; detailed engineering and assembling of the interiors using local materials whenever possible; and manufacturing complete car body shells including painting.

Siemens will complete the coach designs, provide technical assistance and supply complete bogies and other major components from Vienna.

"We've been in partnership talks with CTV-Doll for five or six years until the SRT came up with this project," said Dr Grundmann.

"This project is expected to draw stiff competition from Chinese, South Korean and Japanese train manufacturers. But Siemens is ready to be a pioneer in manufacturing rail vehicles in Thailand and hopes this collaboration will support the Thai government's vision of bringing international expertise to Thailand."

He met yesterday with Deputy Transport Minister Chatchart Sithipan, who invited Siemens to bid for the 200-kilometre Bangkok-Rayong high-speed train project.

The government is considering four high-speed train routes linking the capital including Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Nakhon Ratchasima, but Mr Chatchart said the Rayong route is the most feasible.


Dr Grundmann said with 15 million residents in Greater Bangkok, the city can expect tremendous increases in its population. Half of Thais will live in urban areas by 2015, up from 20% now.

The Bangkok Mass Transit Development Plan calls for a construction of 12 mass transit lines covering a combine 545 kilometres of new track by 2019.

"With 500 people working in Thailand for Siemens, we're here to stay," he said.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/...e-in-khon-kaen
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 09:52 AM   #186
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http://www.nesdb.go.th/Portals/0/new...0404010612.pdf
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 09:52 AM   #187
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Old June 8th, 2012, 12:28 AM   #188
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Old June 19th, 2012, 09:23 PM   #189
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High-speed train project bidding set for next year

Published: 19/06/2012 at 01:32 AM

The Transport Ministry plans to hold an international bidding contest early next year for high-speed train projects linking Bangkok with four provinces not far from the capital.

Instead of starting the projects by picking destinations in Chiang Mai and Nong Khai in the far North and Northeast, the ministry has decided to have the trains run shorter distances to Phitsanulok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachuap Khiri Khan's Hua Hin district and Rayong.

Deputy Transport Minister Chadchart Sittiphan expects better returns from the four routes than from more distant provinces, which have less dense populations.

"Japan also agrees with the option to link Bangkok with nearby provinces," said Mr Chadchart after meeting Akihiko Tamura, senior deputy director-general of the Railway Bureau, an agency in Japan's Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry.

The government had earlier invited Japan and China to conduct feasibility studies on high-speed train projects in Thailand and Tokyo has expressed interest in being involved in construction.

The Transport Ministry plans to draft the terms of reference for the four projects in the next six or seven months and will then invite construction firms, in and outside Thailand, to submit bids.

Japan and China will have greater advantages than other competitors because they have conducted feasibility studies, Mr Chadchart said.

Japan has finished a study on a Bangkok-Chiang Mai route and concluded the project would not yield strong returns.

The findings did not surprise Mr Chadchart. Such a prospect is not unusual because most electric train projects cannot expect large revenues only from ticket sales.

In Japan, railway operators need to earn additional money from other commercial development done in parallel with rail services.

Mr Chadchart said Thailand would use Japan, which is well known for its Shinkansen high-speed trains, as a model for the country's first high-speed trains.

The government will invest in the rail system and plans to have private companies run the trains and pay fees for using the tracks.

"Initially we want trains that can travel at speeds of at least 250km/h," he added. "Thailand doesn't need very high speed."

The Shinkansen train's speeds range from 240-300 km/h.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/tran...-for-next-year
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Old June 28th, 2012, 10:05 PM   #190
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ADB lends an academic hand to railway logistics study New services would return trust in SRT

Published: 28/06/2012 at 01:56 AM Newspaper section: Business 0
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The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is offering academic assistance for a study of Thai logistics.

The study, to be completed in the next 6-8 months, will cover ways to increase the use of rail transport to improve the country's competitiveness, as 82-83% of Thai transport is still via roads.

However, as the rail system in Thailand is inefficient, the Thai private sector is reluctant to use it.

A report by the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) showed 82.6% of goods in the country are transported by road, followed by water (9.48%), coastal marine (5.7%), rail (2.2%) and air (0.02%).

The Strategic Committee for Reconstruction and Future Development, chaired by Virabongsa Ramangkura, said the ADB study will help Thai logistics in terms of both passenger and goods transport.

Previously, the Thai government approved a 170-billion-baht budget for the improvement of the nation's rail network and installation of safety equipment.

The government plans to build a nationwide high-speed rail network, with trains capable of travelling at speeds of 250 kilometres per hour.

The first phase will involve lines extending 200-250 km from Bangkok.

They are Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima on the Nong Khai line; to Hua Hin on the Padang Besar line; to Phitsanulok on the Chiang Mai line; and to Rayong.

Total investment in the first phase is estimated at 300 billion baht.

Arkhom Termpittayapaisith, the NESDB's secretary-general, said the committee suggested the study also cover new businesses for the State Railway of Thailand.

These would include a parcel post service.

Mr Virabongsa is also worried about water shortages.

He suggested the government prepare better management in the eastern river plain covering nine provinces.

More factories are being established in the inner areas of Chachoengsao, Prachin Buri, Nakhon Nayok and Sa Kaeo provinces due to a lack of locations in Rayong's Map Ta Phut area.

An ad-hoc committee has been appointed to study the development.

The management of the eastern river plain is part of a 40-billion-baht investment plan for 17 river plain areas nationwide.

Mr Arkhom said the committee also approved a 300-million-baht budget to establish a database of Thai biology.

"Biotechnology is one industry that can help to upgrade Thai industry. However, many biological technologies should be registered as patents," he said.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/business/...ogistics-study
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Old July 8th, 2012, 07:26 AM   #191
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Quote:
Originally Posted by napoleon View Post
High-speed train project bidding set for next year

Published: 19/06/2012 at 01:32 AM

The Transport Ministry plans to hold an international bidding contest early next year for high-speed train projects linking Bangkok with four provinces not far from the capital.

Instead of starting the projects by picking destinations in Chiang Mai and Nong Khai in the far North and Northeast, the ministry has decided to have the trains run shorter distances to Phitsanulok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachuap Khiri Khan's Hua Hin district and Rayong.

Deputy Transport Minister Chadchart Sittiphan expects better returns from the four routes than from more distant provinces, which have less dense populations.

"Japan also agrees with the option to link Bangkok with nearby provinces," said Mr Chadchart after meeting Akihiko Tamura, senior deputy director-general of the Railway Bureau, an agency in Japan's Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry.

The government had earlier invited Japan and China to conduct feasibility studies on high-speed train projects in Thailand and Tokyo has expressed interest in being involved in construction.

The Transport Ministry plans to draft the terms of reference for the four projects in the next six or seven months and will then invite construction firms, in and outside Thailand, to submit bids.

Japan and China will have greater advantages than other competitors because they have conducted feasibility studies, Mr Chadchart said.

Japan has finished a study on a Bangkok-Chiang Mai route and concluded the project would not yield strong returns.

The findings did not surprise Mr Chadchart. Such a prospect is not unusual because most electric train projects cannot expect large revenues only from ticket sales.

In Japan, railway operators need to earn additional money from other commercial development done in parallel with rail services.

Mr Chadchart said Thailand would use Japan, which is well known for its Shinkansen high-speed trains, as a model for the country's first high-speed trains.

The government will invest in the rail system and plans to have private companies run the trains and pay fees for using the tracks.

"Initially we want trains that can travel at speeds of at least 250km/h," he added. "Thailand doesn't need very high speed."

The Shinkansen train's speeds range from 240-300 km/h.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/tran...-for-next-year
good news
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Old July 10th, 2012, 06:48 PM   #192
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Cabinet approves 106km double-track railway in eastern route

BANGKOK, July 10 – The Thai Cabinet on Tuesday approved the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) project to build 106km of double-track railway from Chachoensao to Saraburi, according to deputy government spokesperson Pakdiharn Himathongkham.

Apart from the 106km double-track, the Cabinet endorsed building rail bypasses at three railway junctions in Chachoengsao, Saraburi and Ayutthaya with the 2013-2016 budget of Bt10.63 billion, set aside from both projects.

It also endorsed the proposed SRT construction of a railway and a tunnel at Phraphuttachai Mountain in Saraburi with a budget of Bt712 million under a two-year project.

SRT railway operations nationwide total 4,363 kilometres of rails, including 3,755km of single track, 173km of double tracks and 107km of triple tracks.

The SRT targets completing 3,039km of double tracks within the next 15 years to serve a high speed railway system and to facilitate transport and railway passengers. (MCOT online news)

http://www.mcot.net/cfcustom/cache_page/387096.html
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Old July 12th, 2012, 05:55 PM   #193
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Mean there will be no new railway specially for high speed train?
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Old July 13th, 2012, 08:18 AM   #194
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If they could do what Malaysia has done, i.e. track-doubling, electrification and 160km/h service it would probably be enough and be much, much cheaper than building from scratch.
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Old July 31st, 2012, 05:43 PM   #195
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Thailand sees potential as regional hub with future hi-speed train

BANGKOK, July 31 - Thailand has the potential to be South East Asia's most important economic hub when its future high-speed train is in place, due to the country's oceanic geography linking Laos and China through Singapore, a study conducted by the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) said.

TDRI Distinguished Fellow Chalongphob Sussangkarn on Tuesday spoke at a seminar in the capital on the institute’s research study on benefits deriving from Thailand's future high-speed train linking neighbouring countries and encouraging Thailand itself as the region's centre of economy and tourism.

According to TDRI's research, Thailand's high-speed construction will tend to help increase the country's trade with neighbouring nations via land transportation links.

Thailand's trade with Laos is expected to significantly rise, in particular at the Nong Khai border checkpoint, while the trade with southern China through Thailand's Chiang Saen border is estimated to be valued at over Bt30 billion in 2021, with transportation costs to decrease up to 20 per cent in this same year.

Tourism in the north and northeastern was expected to rise as a result of the high-speed train, Mr Chalongphob said.

However, TDRI advised the Thai government to conduct a long-term study of up to 30 years on the entire high-speed train system, particularly connecting routes from China to countries in the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN), while noting that such routes will cover the logistics system of the Mekong Framework Collaboration and the ASEAN Economic Cooperation (AEC), which will greatly benefit trade.

As problems still occur on routes connecting China and Laos, both countries and Thailand should discuss investment and benefits to determine solutions.

The government should also study how the country's industrial sector can benefit from the high-speed train investment. For instance, as Thailand is an important manufacturing base for auto parts, the government should support the industry's foundations to add value to and make the most of the high-speed train.

The Thai government is to build four high-speed rail lines -- Bangkok-Chiang Mai at 745km (costing Bt229 billion), Bangkok-Nongkhai at 615km (Bt201 billion), Bangkok-Rayong at 221km (Bt72 billion), and Bangkok-Padang Besar at 982km (Bt297 billion). (MCOT online news)

http://www.mcot.net/cfcustom/cache_page/395399.html
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Old August 17th, 2012, 09:38 PM   #196
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High-speed train bids to start in 2013

Published: 17/08/2012 at 02:06 AM

The government plans to open international bidding early next year on the first phase of the high-speed rail project.

The 400-billion-baht first phase is scheduled to be completed in 2018.

The high-speed train system will largely run alongside existing lines.

They are Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima on the Bangkok-Nong Khai line; Bangkok-Hua Hin on the Bangkok-Padang Besar line; Bangkok-Phitsanulok-Chiang Mai; and Bangkok-Pattaya-Rayong on an extension line from Suvarnabhumi airport.

Cost of the first phase is estimated at 400 billion baht for a system that can handle speeds of up to 250 kilometres per hour.

Passengers will travel 3.44 hours on the 745-km of Bangkok-Chiang Mai route, 1.35 hours on the 256-km Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima route, 1.09 hours on the 225-km Bangkok-Hua Hin route and one hour on the 220-km Bangkok-Rayong route.

Construction will be along existing routes, while the governors of provinces along the way must submit reasons for having a station in their province.

The international bidding will be held early next year after completion of environmental and health impact assessments.

Pansak Vinyaratn, chairman of the advisory board to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, said the government is negotiating with bidders from South Korea, Japan, China and France.

The high-speed train will supply other Asean members and southern China with goods such as light parts, high-tech parts, seafood, fresh-cut flowers, vegetables and fruits.

The government anticipates that goods shipment by rail will increase to 80% of the total in six years from only 2% now.

This will reduce logistics costs by 35% or 400 billion baht a year on lower petrol consumption.

As well, warehouse costs and increased management efficiency will bring the total annual saving to 720 billion baht.

Currently, 17-35% of fresh goods turn rotten in transit.

Revenue from fruit exports is targeted at 336 billion baht in 2018, up from 56 billion last year.

http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/tran...-start-in-2013
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Old September 9th, 2012, 08:27 PM   #197
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SRT banks on three new units

The Nation September 10, 2012 1:00 am

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) expects its three new business units to support its Bt176.81-billion investment plan over the next five years, Deputy Minister of Transport Pol Lt-General Chatt Kuldiloke said.

According to the framework for construction of double tracks over 873km, acquisition of more than 70 locomotive units and 605 units of transport tracks, the SRT has to restructure its business to support the investment plan and the way to develop the rail system.

The move is expected to reduce logistic costs when the Asean Economic Community (AEC) comes into effect in 2015. The three new business units are - transportation, maintenance, and asset management. They will help the SRT to develop its transportation system to serve the demands of passengers and cargo.

After reorganisation, it is expected that the SRT will be able to increase cargo and container transport from 11 million tonnes in 2010 to 37 million tonnes in 2020; increase the number of passengers from 48 million in 2010 to 71 million in 2020; increase the average speed from 50-60 km per hour at present to 90-100km per hour; and reduce national energy consumption worth Bt20 billion to Bt30 billion as more companies and passengers decide to choose the SRT as their mode of transport, he said.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/busi...-30190052.html
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Old September 10th, 2012, 06:35 PM   #198
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Yes, OK, but I'm confused. Every second posting speaks of three highspeed lines to be built over the next decade or so. Every second other posting speaks of sensible, but much more modest, track upgrades. Are these plans competing or complementary? Is it one other the other? Or, does perhaps the Thai government plan to spend its own funds on track upgrades and invite private funding for HSR?
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Old September 20th, 2012, 11:07 PM   #199
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Thailand woos German train makers.

The Nation September 21, 2012 1:00 am

Transport Minister Jarupong Ruangsuwan has reiterated the Thai government's bid to have German train makers invest in a train-making factory, promising demand of over 800 carriages for the 10 electric train routes.

Meeting with Philipp Rosler, Germany’s Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, yesterday, Jarupong said that he said that all state railway agencies should put up train purchases in one lot, to increase the bargaining power. He noted that the Transport Ministry is in the process to complete 10 electric train routes, which should require about 800 train carriages. A single bid should be opened for the supply of the train carriage, which should encourage a train maker to produce the carriages here and transfer technology to Thais.

"The German showed interest in this," he said.

Aside from the train issue, both also discussed on protection on German companies operating in Thailand particularly those in the automotive sector. Rosler expressed his concern over the assembling of German vehicles in Thailand, which are threatening the profitability of German companies which legally imported completely-built units.

Rosler yesterday also paid respect to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at the Government House, the visit which marked the 150th anniversary of Thai-German relationship. He also attended the third Thai-German economic council meeting, attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong. Issues to be discussed by the council involve energy and food security. During the meeting with Yingluck, Rosler also affirmed commitment to strengthen Germany’s relationship with Thailand and Asean, commenting that Thailand has potential to become a regional logistics hub.

Yingluck, who visited Germany in July, also pressed for the dispatch of Germany’s food experts to Thailand to improve the country’s food safety standards. She also extended invitation to German companies to invest in green and alternative energy, as well as infrastructure projects.

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Old October 2nd, 2012, 08:36 PM   #200
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Alstom looks at setting up train-parts factory in Kingdom

The Nation October 3, 2012 1:00 am

Alstom (Thailand) Ltd, the local unit of a leading French energy-solutions and rail-transport company, is conducting a feasibility study on establishing a plant in Thailand to manufacture electric-train parts. It expects to reach a conclusion on the proposal within a year.

The plan is aimed at enhancing the company's competitiveness in Asean's second-largest economy. It was disclosed after Alstom (Thailand) signed a memorandum of cooperation with Kasetsart University on development of engineering undergraduates.

Didier Farez, president for Alstom (Thailand), said the company was active in Thailand's rail transport and electricity generation.

Besides the feasibility study on the factory proposal, it has been in discussions with the Mass Rapid Transit Authority of Thailand (MRTA) and local alliances.

Farez noted that Alstom was French's first developer of high-speed trains, and said the company emphasised safety.

Alstom has been involved in the MRTA's Blue Line extension. It is seeking the opportunity to participate in the Purple and Green Line extension projects as well.

Farez said Thailand was expected to develop a high-speed rail system, which will entail more electric-train projects and more electricity plants. This could raise demand for engineers, who are now in short supply in the Kingdom.

Jerome de Grandmaison, vice president of human resources for Asia at Alstom, said the region's economic expansion had prompted some countries to seek ways of developing their transport systems, electricity generation and human-resource competency.

Thailand is the first Asean country where Alstom has decided to co-develop engineers.

Alstom will transfer its technical knowledge and experience Thai engineering undergraduates in the fields of electrical power, electrical grids and transport. Engineering undergraduates will take part in the Alstom Graduate Programme with two-year internships across the world.

Alstom will also join research and development projects of Kasetsart University's engineering faculty as a way to develop smart-grid technology.

Wuttichai Kapinkan, president for Kasetsart University, said its engineering faculty would introduce a railway-engineering curriculum at the undergraduate level next year with expected enrolment of 40 students per year.

The university has urged the government to set a clear policy on the rail-transport system so that educational institutions could plan to develop engineers for it, he said, adding that sufficient budget should be provided to support human-resource development in this field.

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