THE Thai government has signed three contracts for the first phase of the Bangkok - Laos high-speed line project between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima, with another three due to be signed once the paperwork is prepared.

The contracts signed on March 29 by the governor of State Railway of Thailand (SRT), Mr Niruj Maneepun, cover civil engineering works along the Nava Nakhon - Ban Pho section, construction of a maintenance depot at Chiang Rak Noi, and rail engineering works along the Phra Kaew - Saraburi section of the line.

Three other contracts, including civil engineering works along the Bang Sue - Don Muang section, works between Don Muang and Nava Nakhon and civil works for the Ban Pho - Phra Kaew section, are due to be signed.

The Baht 179.41bn ($US 5.7bn), 253km line is due to form the first phase of a high-speed line to Laos, construction of which began following the signing of two contracts with Chinese state enterprises in September 2017. The line will have six stations at Bangkok (Bang Sue), Don Muang, Ayutthaya, Saraburi, Pak Chong and Nakhon Ratchasima, and is expected to open in late 2026 or early 2027.

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