The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is planning to talk with Malaysian transport officials on the initiative to build the Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur high-speed rail (HSR) system.
According to Thai Transport Minister Arkom Termpittayapaisith, Malaysia and Thailand are expected to begin discussions on the feasibility of constructing the HSR connecting the two capitals.
He said the project, if it gets the green light, will shorten the journey between the two capitals to six hours.
Discussions between the two countries will begin at the official level before proceeding to the ministerial level, he said, without specifying the exact date for the start of the official talks.
Arkom said Thailand already has a southbound high-speed train project in the works from Bangkok to Hua Hin and officials will look into whether that line should be extended or if a totally new line should be built from Bangkok, adding that he supports an extension option which will include a section of the rail line running from Hua Hin resort town to Padang Besar in Songkhla, which borders Malaysia, before linking to KL.
During the Malaysia-Thailand annual consultation meeting in Bangkok a few months ago, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Thai counterpart Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha agreed to conduct a feasibility study on the HSR project connecting the two capitals.
The project, Najib said, will complement the HSR linking Malaysia’s capital and Singapore.
According to an initial estimation, the line will be 1,400km, of which 500km will be in Malaysia.
The train, with a maximum speed of 250km per hour, will require between five and six hours to travel between the two capitals.
Arkom said if the plan is embarked on, the three countries will be connected by a convenient international rail route with a possible linkage to Laos and China in future.