ASIA: According to a recent post on Pattaya mail, despite many predictions and promises, the long-anticipated high-speed train network connecting the two Bangkok airports with the now-expanded U-tapao airport near Rayong has yet to receive final Cabinet approval.
According to the Eastern Economic Corridor, which sponsors Thai and foreign mega-projects, the final approval will be left to the government that takes office after the May general election. Construction and expropriation of property details must still be negotiated.
The 230 billion baht project will enable super-fast express trains to travel at speeds of up to 250 kilometers per hour. Supporters of the project envision a Chinese model in which sleek trains pinball around the country, reducing traffic jams and allowing tourists, businesspeople, and freight to arrive at their destinations quickly.
Critics argue that China is a much larger country and that the high cost of travel over relatively short distances in Thailand raises quite different issues, such as anticipated fare costs to the general public.
Although some property experts believe that rising property prices in the eastern provinces (including Pattaya and Rayong) are dependent on a fast-train future, others disagree.
According to Colliers International, the property market is being driven by real demand and good roads between cities to transport goods and people. The consensus is that the rail project will proceed, but the first trains will not run until at least 2028.