• Kyodo

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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.

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