The contract, awarded to China Railway 11 Bureau Group and China Railway 23 Bureau Group, covers the construction of railway subgrade, bridges and stations on a 39.8km section of line.

CRCC will provide expertise and supervision for the project, while the Thai government will provide equipment and materials. CRCC will employ local engineers and architects to support the execution of the project, and will also provide technical support in the fields of maintenance, operation and management of the line.

The CRCC contract is part of the line’s $US 5.2bn Phase 1, which runs 250km northeast from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima. Construction of this phase began in 2017 on a 3.5km section between two stations in Bangkok, and was carried out by However, CRCC’s contract is the first substantial contract to be awarded for the project.

The 900km Bangkok - Nong Khai high-speed line is intended to provide a direct rail connection between the Thai capital and the border with Laos, where it will connect with the China-Laos line, which is also currently under construction and due to open in 2021. When both projects are complete, it will enable the operation of 250km/h services from Bangkok, via Laos, to Kunming in China.

The line was first outlined in a 2014 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Thai and Chinese governments, and is intended to provide improved connections in the region, and support the development of trade, tourism, and cross-border investment.

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