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Liberty, Equality, Frate
114,375 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)

Thai Forum

Thailand to build over 2,500-km high-speed railways in 20 years

BANGKOK, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Thailand will build 2,506 km high-speed railways linking northern Chiang Mai, northeastern Nong Khai, southeastern Rayong and southern Padang Besar with the capital by 2036, a Thai official said.

Suphalerk Soodyodprasert, Rail Project Development Officer from the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP) under Thai Ministry of Transport, introduced the development of high-speed railways in Thailand Thursday at the Rail Asia Expo & RISE Symposium.

The first phase of Bangkok-Nong Khai high-speed rail, Thailand's first high-speed railway under Thailand-China cooperation, is under construction after a ground-breaking ceremony late last year, Suphalerk said.

He also introduced Thailand's master plan of high-speed railways.

The four projects in the first period from 2017 to 2021 include a 253-km first phase of China-Thailand cooperation project, or the high-speed rail between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima, a 355-km second phase from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai on the Thai-Lao border, a high-speed rail linking Suvarnabhumi, Don Mueang and U-Tapao airports and its further extension to Rayong, and a 380-km Bangkok-Phitsanulok high-speed rail, according to Suphalerk.

He added that a 211-km Bangkok-Hua Hin high-speed rail has been put into the second period of plan, which lasts from 2022 to 2026.

A 288-km high speed rail from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai is also planned in the second period.

For the third period from 2027 to 2036, Thailand plans to extend the Bangkok-Hua Hin high-speed railway by 424 km to Surat Thani and then another 335 km to Padang Besar on the Thai-Malaysian border.

The master plan is set to cost some 1.57 trillion baht (about 50 billion U.S. dollars).


Liberty, Equality, Frate
114,375 Posts
Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Thailand's location drives transport investment plan

A modal shift in transport for greater competitiveness is the name of the game behind the government's massive infrastructure development programme, which will be kicked off this year with the tendering of four high-speed-rail projects.

Under the grand plan, 55 projects worth Bt2.27 trillion (US$66.29 billion) are to be completed by 2020.

These projects are part of the government's long-term development plan but are being expedited by a commitment to infrastructure investment, the opening up of Myanmar, and the implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC).

The Finance Ministry is expected to submit a draft Bt2.2-trillion borrowing bill for the Cabinet’s approval this month.

In the 2013 fiscal year, infrastructure spending of Bt100 billion is earmarked, according to Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt.

"The infrastructure development projects are designed to make Thailand the true centre stage of Asean. Under this plan, Bangkok will no longer singly represent Thailand. Major cities will gain greater prominence, thanks to the AEC, which will allow us to expand our territory without having to go to war, and extend regional connectivity," the minister said in an interview.

Of the total budget of Bt2.2 trillion, 64 per cent will fund 31 rail-related projects, 24 per cent will go to 13 road projects, 7 per cent to seven water-transport projects, and 4.75 per cent to four air-transport projects.

Ultimately, these projects are expected to improve linkages between Thailand and its Asean neighbours, reduce logistics costs, deal with growing traffic congestion, and boost tourism revenue.

Chadchart envisages Thailand as the centre of Asean through its presence in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec), the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACEMECS), and the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle.

To benefit fully from these connections, Thailand requires a new seamless network and new rules to facilitate cross-border transport.

Thailand will be linked with the regional groups through the Southern Economic Corridor (Bangkok-Phnom Penh-Ho Chi Minh City), the East-West Economic Corridor (Malamang-Phitsanulok-Khon Kaen-Savannakhet-Danang), and the North-South Economic Corridor (which links Thailand with Kunming, China, via Laos and Myanmar). Through Route R9, Thailand will link Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The road links are expected to boost border trade, which totalled $22.7 billion in the first nine months of 2012.

"We need to be friends with all our neighbours and must not take advantage of them. This can be a win-win deal for all sides," Chadchart said.

New investments in rail projects are designed to reduce logistics costs, which now account for 15.2 per cent of gross domestic product, against 8.3 per cent in the United States.

The cost is high as freight transport is 86 per cent by road, though this mode is the most polluting and most dangerous to life.

From 71 billion kilotonnes equivalent of carbon emission in 2010, 35 per cent came from goods transport and 36 per cent from the manufacturing sector.

Shipment by rail and water, currently at 12 per cent and 2 per cent respectively, will be promoted because of their lower costs compared to road transport.

"Rail transport should be tentatively raised to 40 per cent," Chadchart said.

Costing a total of Bt900 billion, the four high-speed-rail routes will help the government achieve that goal.

While the high-speed trains will speed up travel for individual commuters, they will also promise a shorter transport period for goods.

In Bangkok, where new roads cannot be built, the combined length of the electric-train routes will be expanded by 10 times from 40 kilometres to 468.8km. Tendering of the MRT Pink Line is expected to take place next month.

"If the tendering of all 10 new projects can be launched within two years, they will all be completed seven years from now," he said.

In the air-transport segment, some airports will be improved to attract more tourism revenue.

"There are 38 airports in Thailand, but 72 per cent of tourist arrivals are seen through Suvarnabhumi Airport," Chadchart said.

"The bottleneck must be tackled. In this regard, the Mae Sot airport could be used for travel to Myanmar."

He said there was plenty of fiscal room to finance the projects.

"We can issue 3-per-cent bonds to finance the infrastructure projects.

"This is worthwhile as it will reduce energy consumption, pollution and logistics costs. We can invest first and pay back the investment through profits reaped from the projects," he said.

The government tentatively plans to finance 8 per cent of the needed funds through revenue of involved state enterprises, 69 per cent through borrowing by government and state enterprises, 9 per cent through annual fiscal budgets, and 14 per cent through public-private investment.

Unlike the Bt350-billion budget for the water-management scheme, which is backed by a borrowing decree, the minister said it was necessary for the government issue a law to back the Bt2.27-trillion transport-infrastructure investment.

"We need a law as we want to make it a national agenda, turning the projects into contingency plans that will bind all [subsequent] governments to follow through. It's a necessity for the nation. Whoever becomes the government must continue with it, as it will benefit the entire country."

To Chadchart, dealing with environmental concerns is key to the success of the scheme. Without public acceptance, the projects could face delays.

As much of the investment will go to rail projects, the government also needs to make sure that the State Railway of Thailand is capable of handling the projects.

He said the new SRT governor Prapat Chongsanguan and the labour union had started to see the urgency of restructuring, as few want to take a train ride because of poor service.

Liberty, Equality, Frate
114,375 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
BANGKOK | Bang Sue Central Station

Source: Design Concept Co.

SRT inks deal for Bang Sue rail terminus

Published: 19 Jan 2013

The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) yesterday signed a multi-billion-baht contract for the construction of a new railway terminus and depot in Bang Sue.

The project is expected to be completed in two and a half years.

Sino-Thai Engineering & Construction Pcl and Unique Engineering and Construction Pcl were contracted to build the Bang Sue terminus and depot worth 29 billion baht for the SRT.

The terminus will house four platforms for community trains, 12 platforms for long-distance trains, eight platforms for future use, a ticket office, a ramp to connect to the subway system and a multi-storey car park.

Presiding over the contract signing ceremony, Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt said he would push for the construction to be completed within two and a half years.

He said the Bang Sue station will play an important role in the country's mass transit system because it will serve as a hub for all the country's electric rail networks. He said there will be good connections to other modes of transport, unlike with the Makkasan Airport Rail Link station which was not properly connected to other forms of transport.

The contract signed yesterday was part of the Bang Sue-Rangsit section of the Red Line electric railway project.

The second contract of the project concerns the construction of the railway track between Bang Sue and Rangsit. Project creditor, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, is reviewing investment details. The minister expects the signing to take place next month.

The third contract for the Bang Sue-Rangsit project is for the procurement of trains. Officials are examining the shareholding details of a potential contractor before this is signed.

Mr Chadchat said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who paid a visit this week, had expressed Japan's interest in Thai infrastructure projects, especially in transport such as high-speed railways.

The minister said he has encouraged Japan to bid for high-speed railway contracts in the future.

Mr Chadchat said bidding contest terms for the signalling system and train procurement would be announced in the third quarter of this year.


Liberty, Equality, Frate
114,375 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
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.

Liberty, Equality, Frate
114,375 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
High-speed train to Pattaya in 5 years

Published: 11 Mar 2013

The first high-speed train line to Pattaya is expected to begin by 2018 after the government opens a bid to build the service in September, a senior Transport Ministry official said on Monday.

Chula Sukmanob, director of the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, said the Pattaya line would take five years to complete for the one-hour route. It will be followed by trains to Nakhon Ratchasima, Phitsanulok and Hua Hin a year later.

The train will run at 250 kilometres per hour.

Update: Pattaya high-speed link on track for 2018
Mr Chula said the bid for the technology for the four high-speed lines could take place in September followed by bids for other aspects. The bid for technology can help the government to project the entire construction cost, he added.

Japan, China, South Korea, France, Germany and Spain are among possible contenders for the bid on technology.

The train project is part of the government's 2 trillion baht infrastructure development scheme. It plans to forward the draft for the developments to parliament for approval this month.

The second phase of the train project includes the extension of the Phitsanulok line to Chiang Mai.

Liberty, Equality, Frate
114,375 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Pattaya high-speed link on track for 2018

Published: 12 Mar 2013

The government is aiming to complete the country's first high-speed train between Bangkok and Pattaya by 2018.

Three other lines linking the capital with Phitsanulok, Nakhon Ratchasima and Hua Hin are also scheduled to be completed the following year.

The planned four high-speed rail routes are part of infrastructure projects under the 2-trillion-baht borrowing plan to be tabled before the cabinet for its approval next Tuesday.

Barring any problems, the bill will be forwarded to parliament by the end of this month for final approval, with a target to complete all projects in seven years.

Other key projects to be financed with borrowing under the bill include 10 mass transit projects, dual track railways and road projects which have undergone environmental impact analyses.

Of the total borrowing, 1.65 trillion baht will be spent on railway development, 30.7 billion baht on water transport system development, 243 billion baht on road development, and 12.19 billion baht on road checkpoint development.

Chula Sookmanob, director of the Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning Office, said the government expected to invite bids for the four high-speed trains in September. Bidders will be required to specify their technology for the train in the bidding contest to enable the government to project the construction cost. Interest is expected from Japan, China, South Korea, France, Germany and Spain.

Mr Chula said the government will establish a new organisation before September to manage the high-speed links.

He said the government hopes to be able to reduce the country's logistics costs by at least 2 per cent after all projects featured in the bill are completed.

The country's logistics costs stood at 1.75 billion baht in 2012 against its gross domestic product of 11.5 trillion baht in the same year.

The projects could also reduce fuel costs by at least 100 billion baht a year and cut travelling time between Bangkok and the provinces within a 300km radius to 90 minutes from three hours.

PM's Office Minister Varathep Ratanakorn said the government would meet state agencies on Friday to make sure it can clearly answer questions about the projects that may be raised in parliament.

Earlier report: High speed train to Pattaya in 5 years
The government has extended an exhibition on the projects by another four days to Saturday to make sure the public are informed about them, he said.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva reiterated Monday he disagreed with the borrowing plan.

Mr Abhisit visited the exhibition with deputy leader Korn Chatikavanij and party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut Monday at the Government Complex on Chaeng Watthana Road.

They were accompanied by Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong and Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt.

Mr Abhisit said the projects could be implemented through the original 300-billion-baht plan using the annual budget since some of them are already included in ongoing development plans. He cited dual-track railways as an example.

He also said the planned high-speed railways should be extended to Nong Khai and Malaysia instead of ending at Nakhon Ratchasima and Hua Hin.

Map shows the four high-speed rail projects currently in the planning stage, with the red line to Pattaya to be built within five years.

Liberty, Equality, Frate
114,375 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Thailand gears up for massive high-speed train project

10:12 PM 17 March 2013

Thailand is poised to place its economic growth aboard a $60bn high-speed train project which could help drag the Asian country out of the middle-income trap.

Tomorrow, the cabinet is expected to accept a bill to allow the government to raise 2.2tn baht ($73.3bn) in off-budget spending on infrastructure investments over the next seven years, 80% of which is destined for new railways linking Bangkok to the provinces.

The legislation would then need approval from parliament, which is expected by the end of the month. The special law is controversial as it allows the Finance Ministry to borrow above the annual budget, despite rules that limit public debt to less than 60% of gross domestic product.

“There is a danger that the law will become a loophole,” said former finance minister Chalongphob Sussangkarn, a senior economist at the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI). “It bypasses all the fiscal discipline in the system.”

The new law also raises transparency questions.

“If it is off-budget, there is no parliamentary scrutiny, so the disbursement procedures can become lax and fiscal prudence goes out of the window,” said Korn Chatikavanij, another former finance minister and deputy leader of the opposition Democrat Party.

Korn said the government’s normal budget could cover the 2.2tn-baht expenditure for the project that most parties seem to agree is necessary. A high-speed rail link between Bangkok and Nong Khai in north-eastern Thailand was a key campaign promise of the Democrat Party for the 2010 election.

“The infrastructure investments will not only increase GDP by an average of 1% per year but also create 500,000 jobs,” Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said recently. The Finance Ministry has predicted the trains will help lift the country out of the middle-income trap - in which a country’s economy stagnates before it becomes wealthy - by 2020.

The railways project is also expected to cut national fuel costs by 300bn baht ($10bn) a year and create new domestic trade routes.

It would eventually link Thailand to China via a $7bn high-speed railway planned through landlocked Laos, and through Malaysia to Singapore.

According to the initial plan, the high-speed tracks will be built parallel to existing rails operated by the state railway authority from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Hua Hin and Pattaya.

“I think we will start them all at the same time,” Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt said. “We will start bidding in the third of fourth quarter, and construction begins next year.”

The project’s success will hinge on the performance of Chadchart, a former professor of civil engineering at Chulalongkorn University who was appointed minister in October.

Chadchart has come with a clean reputation to a ministry regarded as corrupt. “The biggest credit I would give this government is for giving this job to Chadchart. He’s a very good guy,” Korn said. “If he stands firm, and makes sure no politicians make money from this, that’s very good news for the country.”

So far, only Japanese and Chinese firms have expressed serious interest in the high-speed train project. “I haven’t heard anything from the German firms,” Chadchart said.

One problem Chadchart faces is what to do with State Railways of Thailand (SRT), the 122-year-old enterprise that is losing about 10bn baht a year.

“If the new high-speed trains are run by the SRT, it’s going to be a complete disaster,” Chalongphob said.

The TDRI, which researched the feasibility of the high-speed rail project last year, concluded that it would benefit the country if the government insisted that international bidders include local parts in the trains. That would protect Thailand from becoming totally dependent on imports to keep the trains going in the future.

“I think there is a conjunction of interests to make this project happen, but the question is whether it will be worth it for Thailand,” Chalongphob said.

Liberty, Equality, Frate
114,375 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Government to Ensure Transparency in Its Planned Two-Trillion-Baht Investment Projects


The Government will ensure transparency in its planned investment in transportation and logistics mega-projects, worth two trillion baht, or 66 billion US dollars.

Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt said that many people visiting the Thailand 2020 exposition had expressed their opinions about the mega-projects, which would be implemented over the next seven years.

The exposition began on 9 March and will run through 16 March at the Government Complex on Chaeng Watthana Road in Bangkok. It shows Thailand’s future in 2020, with the infrastructure development mega-projects. The Government expects that it will create confidence among investors and the people.

Mr. Chadchart said that the Thailand 2020 exposition had received a positive response from members of the public and private sectors, students and the general public. He said that, apart from providing visitors with information and proper understanding about the Government’s investment in transportation and logistics networks in all regions of the country, the Thailand 2020 exposition has also offered an opportunity for the Government to listen to public opinion on the mega-projects.

He stated that, in a survey of the mega-projects, most respondents to the questionnaire expressed their concern about corruption that might take place in various steps of the project implementation. They called for a monitoring process to ensure practices of transparency in all projects.

In this regard, Mr. Chadchart said that the Government and the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand had discussed the issue relating to various matters, such as procurement procedures, specifications, and auction processes. The issue must also cover the Government’s investment of 350 billion baht to finance flood prevention and water management projects.

He said that the Government and Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand would sign a document for cooperation in ensuring transparency and good governance on the mega-projects.

The Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand, a private sector initiative, was launched in 2011. It comprises members of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Thai Bankers Association and the Federation of Capital Market Organizations. The objective is to raise public awareness and antipathy against corruption through education, suppression, and transparency.

The Cabinet recently approved the initial plans to invest two trillion baht in transportation and logistics. Some of these projects include high-speed trains and dual train track development, a better overall road network for connecting ASEAN economic corridors, improved sea ports, and more border facilities to enhance border trade.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said that Thailand’s strong fiscal position allows the country to finance these projects through various sources, including government borrowing. The participation of the private sector will be encouraged in some projects, as well.

Liberty, Equality, Frate
114,375 Posts
Discussion Starter #14
Cabinet approves bill for Bt2 trillion loans, goes to parliament tomorrow

BANGKOK, March 19 – The cabinet today approved a bill empowering the Finance Ministry to seek Bt2 trillion in loans for investment in Thailand’s communication and transport infrastructure.

Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na-Ranong said the loans, to be sought from domestic and international financial sources, will raise Thailand’s public debt, but at less than 50 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP), a level not exceeding the financial disciplinary framework.

The first decade of payment will be mainly for interest --Bt20 billion-- while the principal plus interest will be paid from the 11th year onward until the Bt2.2 trillion package is totally paid up. The entire debt payment period takes fifty years.

Mr Kittiratt said the loans will be mainly sought from domestic financial sources which have a liquidity of over Bt2 trillion at present, adding that the government will avoid borrowing from overseas to avoid impacting the Thai baht and prevent an influx of foreign capital.

Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt said several projects on road, rail and marine transportation will be simultaneously kicked off while constructions of high-speed train system, dual railway tracks and major roads will be carried out in parallel.

He said the appreciating Thai baht will not have a negative impact on the infrastructure project since most construction materials are from domestic suppliers while imports are not an obstacle thanks to the strengthened Thai currency.

Minister to the Prime Minister’s Office Varathep Rattanakorn said the proposed bill will be tabled to the House of Representatives tomorrow and deliberations will be speeded up so that constructions will start as planned.

The House of Representatives should pass the bill in September, he said.

An appendix of the bill puts the infrastructure development project under three major strategies: 1) strategy on lower-cost transport system at a cost of Bt354.560 billion, 2) strategy on communication and transport to connect with neighbouring countries at Bt1.04 trillion, and 3) strategy on upgrading transport system for more flexibility at Bt593.801 billion. The remaining loans will be spent to support the three strategies.

Under strategy I, rail and marine transport systems will be developed and dual tracks will be built on various routes including Lopburi-Denchai, Map Kabao-Jira Junction, Jira Junction-Ubon Ratchathani, Nakhon Pathom-Hua Hin-Surat Thani-Padang Besar and other routes that connect to the core network.

The strategy also includes development of marine and shore transport emphasising development of deep-sea ports and seaside ports on the coasts of the Gulf of Thailand in the East and the Andaman Sea in the West to link with the road and rail system.

Strategy II calls for development of infrastructure for communication and transport to the country centre and connections to neighbouring countries. The high-speed train system under Strategy II includes several routes: Bangkok-Chiang Mai, Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima-Nong Khai, Bangkok-Hua Hin-Padang Besar, Suvarnabhumi-Chachoengsao-Pattaya-Rayong, Denchai-Chiang Rai and Ban Pai-Mukdaharn-Nakhon Phanom.

Strategy III concentrates on Bangkok with construction of a complete rail network to connect the city centre and suburban areas for commuting convenience. (MCOT online news)

Liberty, Equality, Frate
114,375 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
One high-speed bidder to rule them all

Published: 20 Mar 2013 at 17.51

The government will select just one firm from all bidders to run four high-speed train lines, probably by the third quarter of the year, Transport Minister Chadchat Sittipunt said on Wednesday.

The minister said bids will cover trains and their signal systems. Bidding on civil work will follow, he added.

Train manufacturers from China, Japan, Spain, South Korea and France have so far shown interest in building and running high-speed trains. There are high-speed trains in all five countries.

Mr Chadchat said the government will select only one winner to operate the four lines. The government "does not want to have four different systems of the high-speed train on four routes because that could mean high maintenance costs," he said. "So only one firm will be selected."

The first four lines to be put to bids will run from Bangkok to Pattaya, Phitsanulok, Nakhon Ratchasima and Hua Hin.

Once it is running, the eastern train to Pattaya will be extended to Rayong and probably Chanthaburi and Trat. Long range plans call for other extensions as well. The northern train will be further built from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai; Nong Khai is already planned to be the eventual terminus of the Northeast route from Nakhon Ratchasima, and the line to Hua Hin will go further south to Padang Besar in Songkhla province, at the Malaysia border.

The government expects the country's first high-speed train between Bangkok and Pattaya to be running by 2018. The lines to Phitsanulok, Nakhon Ratchasima and Hua Hin are scheduled to be completed in 2019.

High-speed train plans are central to the government's two-trillion baht scheme for megaprojects to improve infrastructure.

Liberty, Equality, Frate
114,375 Posts
Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Designing a Happy Journey: Reviving Kyushu through creativity

When 16 March - 26 May 2013 | 10:30-21:00
Where Gallery 2, TCDC

While Thailand is embarking upon a transport system reform with a view to equipping the railway system, which costs less in terms of fuel consumption, with “high speed” in order to ensure the economic growth and welfare of its citizens, Japan is already at the top of its development in railways, which extend a valuable service from main cities and local areas.

Kyushu is one of the areas where quality and new travel experience has boosted the island’s economy and local incomes. Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu) selected designer Eiji Mitooka to fulfill what was missing in bus service and air travel. That was to be more than a mean of transport and make a superb and joyful journey. Mitooka’s user-centered philosophy focused on the user’s convenience, and also captured the local identity through the use of local materials. His work for JR Kyushu company for over 25 years will be showcased in this exhibition, including the exterior and interior of 29 trains, the development of railway stations, property projects, public relations media, etc.

The success of “JR Kyushu” is a striking case study not only of the advancement of technology and effective management, but also of a winning combination of “Kyushu’s elements”, “business acumen” and “design process”. The principle was applied to every aspect of the rail services and the company became Japan’s biggest provider of sightseeing railway operations. It also involved the local community in the development of train, helped boost local businesses both in agricultural and tourism sectors, and generated income which allowed more local development and better visiting experience.

“Designing a Happy Journey: Reviving Kyushu through creativity” is a collaboration between Kyushu Railway Company (JR Kyushu) and Thailand Creative & Design Center (TCDC), in association with Don Design Associates (DDA) with support from Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO, Bangkok). This exhibition from Japan has been retitled from “Eiji Mitooka Happy Railway Design Exhibition”, with rearranged content.


0 Posts
Fantastic project. Thailand long deserved to change the gear in development and such insane infrastructure upgrade will certainly assist that.

9,220 Posts
Central provinces set for high-speed railway boost
Prices for properties near stations may rise

Published: 23 Mar 2013 at 00.00

Lop Buri and Nakhon Sawan are expected to be the top two provinces for rising land prices in the coming years if the first phase of four high-speed train projects kicks off.

Thitiwat Teerakulthanyaroj, an executive vice-president of property consultant Century 21 Realty Affiliates (Thailand), said both provinces will become an emerging market for property once they have high-speed train stations.

"These two Central Plains provinces are new to property development as there have been no key drivers," he said. "Their land prices have been stable."

According to the Transport Ministry, the first phase of the four high-speed routes will run from Bangkok to Phitsanulok (342 kilometres), Nakhon Ratchasima (256 km), Pattaya (187 km) and Hua Hin (225 km).

Mr Thitiwat said other destinations served by the first four routes have seen an increase in land prices for consecutive years and already have a mature property market.

Pattaya is driven by tourism and industry, Hua Hin by tourism and Ayutthaya by industry, while Phitsanulok and Nakhon Ratchasima are big cities and transport hubs.

Mr Thitiwat said high-speed rail links will bring an opportunity to create new development near stations.

Areas within the first ring close to stations will usually belong to the government, which may lease land to the private sector to develop commercial property such as hotels, offices, retail outlets and conference facilities.

"The second ring will attract condo development due to higher land prices. The third ring will be for low-rise houses," Mr Thitiwat said.

In phase two of the high-speed rail network, routes will extend to Chiang Mai in the North, Nong Khai in the Northeast, Rayong and probably Chanthaburi and Trat in the East and Padang Besar in Songkhla in the South.

Late last month, Century 21 joined Thammasat University's architecture and planning faculty to conduct a survey on condo demand near high-speed rail lines among 1,115 people living in Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Pathum Thani.

About 88% of respondents agreed that high-speed rail influenced their decisions to buy a condo unit.

The most popular route was Bangkok-Chiang Mai, followed by Nakhon Ratchasima, Hua Hin and Rayong.

Asst Prof Pornphan Verapreyagura said people view Chiang Mai as a booming tourist destination after many Chinese visitors followed a popular Chinese film made in the province.

However, Mr Thitiwat said the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route will be more difficult to build than other routes due to its undulating geography.

The 745-km route is so long that an environmental impact assessment will take longer, but the route is regarded as the most valuable.

Asst Prof Pornphan is also researching the three restive deep-South provinces of Narathiwat, Pattani and Yala.

"They are strategic destinations, a door to other Asean countries, due to good infrastructure," she said.

"Despite the violence, people in these three provinces rarely relocate elsewhere. Fewer than 1% have moved out, but they did not sell their houses in their hometowns."


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