Japanese transport minister visits rail projects in Thailand

Kyodo

Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Keiichi Ishii visited Japanese rail projects in Thailand while en route from Laos to Japan on Tuesday, a Thai official said.

During an unofficial two-day transit stop in Bangkok, starting Monday, Ishii was scheduled to meet Wuttichart Kala-yanamit, the governor of the State Railway of Thailand, and visit the Red Line rail project at a construction site at Bang Sue train terminus in Bangkok, a Thai official source said.

One branch of the SRT Red Line suburban railway system will serve Bangkok and its four peripheral provinces, while a second route between Bang Sue and Rangsit will be constructed by Japan’s MHSC Consortium (Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Sumitomo), which won the latest Red Line contract as the sole bidder at a price of 32.5 billion baht ($899.5 million).

The contract is expected to receive Cabinet approval in mid-January.

Ishii also visited the Purple Line train depot in Nonthaburi province, where trains manufactured by Japan Transport Engineering Co. will enter service in August.

He visited Thailand after attending a ceremony Monday in Vientiane, the Lao capital, marking Wattay International Airport’s terminal expansion.