Representatives from 31 private firms purchasing bidding documents for the project to construct a high-speed railway linking Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports visit the Klong Tan train maintenance and repair centre (Source: www.bangkokpost.com)
 
Hanoi (VNA) - The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is worried that the planned Shinkansen-style Thai-Japanese high-speed railway from Bangkok to Chiang Mai province will run at a loss when it opens, citing a 66 percent drop in the predicted number of daily passengers.

Acting Governor of SRT Voravuth Mala made the forecast on July 25, after learning the results of a feasibility study from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Thai media reported.

The study stated there will be around 10,000 passengers per day, against the original estimate of 30,000, he said, adding that the entire route should serve around 50,000 passengers per day to earn a profit from ticket fares.

The Thai Ministry of Transport must review investment plans for the project before sending them to the cabinet for approval next month, Voravuth added.

JICA’s research estimated the high-speed rail’s first 380km phase from Bangkok to Phitsanulok will cost around 276 billion baht (some 8.27 billion USD). Seven stations have been planned for this phase.

Thai authorities had tried to convince JICA to cut costs by reducing the number of stations. However, JICA had disagreed, saying it would defeat the original purpose of the project.

JICA studies have reported ticket fares for the entire 670km of the Bangkok-Chiang Mai route will cost around 1,000 baht, which is seen as a fairly high level.

The SRT is now considering developing land along the Bangkok-Phitsanulok route and along the high-speed railway set to link Don Mueang, Suvarnabhumi and U-Tapao airports to create additional revenue.-VNA