The Evolution of Sustainable Transport in Thailand

High Speed Rail in Thailand

The world has gone High Speed Rail (HSR) crazy and Thailand is one of the latest countries to consider this new transport phenomenon. Can you imagine if it only took one hour to get to Hua Hin and only four hours to Chiang Mai? Think of your carbon footprint saving by choosing rail over (what will be) a slower car or more expensive aeroplane! However, don’t get too excited as it’s a while away yet but the train has definitely started moving so to speak.

In 2010 the Abbisit government agreed in principle to borrow US$ 400m from HSR-enthusiastic China to fund materials to build a network of HSR lines that would connect Bangkok with the north, east, south and west of Thailand and enable a continuous connection between Singapore and Kunming (China) through Malaysia and Laos.

However, 2011 has brought about change such as the corruption and safety investigations into China’s HSR network plus the removal of its Railway Minister and in addition Laos were not ready to agree terms for their rail connection with China. Thailand, too, has its new government and in August 2011 a new HSR plan was announced. What also happened in 2011 was that the Japanese government approached Thailand with an investment opportunity, starting first with the funding of feasibility studies of HSR lines. These feasibility studies are due to commence early next year will inform the HSR network for the future.

The new HSR plan includes the shelving of international connections for now and concentrates on connecting key domestic cities with Bangkok (Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchisima, Hua Hin and Pattaya). Unsuprisingly the Bangkok to Pattaya or Rayong link is favoured to be an extension of the current Airport Link. This makes sense as HSR is really only affective for distances of 250km plus and Pattaya is only about 150km from Bangkok with Rayong around 200km. The time saving is not significant with HSR on a link this short. An extension of the Airport Link would also be a lot cheaper and quicker to implement.

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January 12, 2012

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How does transport planning fit into Meinhardt's capabilities?
Previously, many of Meinhardt’s development-related projects required a traffic impact study or transport planning input; until now, Meinhardt has appointed sub-consultants to carry out this work. We now have the benefit of providing a more integrated and efficient service by offering transport planning to our clients.

At the same time, we are growing transport-led projects, such as planning for roads and metros, which can indirectly provide our Civil, Structural, Infrastructure and Environment teams with more exposure.

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