A train station in Thailand (Source :chiangraibulletin.com )

Bangkok (VNA) - The Thai Government approved a draft cooperation framework with China on railway development on November 17.

The draft framework covered the construction of two railways routes with a combined length of 867 kilometres connecting the NongKhai gate bordering Laos and the provinces of NakhonRatchasima and KaengKhoi; and Bangkok and Map Ta Phut port.

The Thai Government’s spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the construction of the 1.435-metre standard-gauge railways will cost 350 billion THB (9.8 billion USD), with Thailand as the project owner, while China will design, procure materials and constructs track systems and equipment.

Sansern said Thailand and China will also establish joint venture companies to run the train system and conduct maintenance and repair services.

Funding will come from several sources -- the Government’s budget, credit from domestic financial institutions and international loans, mainly from the Export-Import Bank of China on the condition that the interest rates not exceed Thailand’s domestic rates.

A ceremony to start construction on the railways is scheduled for December 19 in Chiang RakNoi, PathumThani province.-VNA