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Thailand has been debating a high-speed rail network since at least 2010, but progress has been impeded by various political and practical buffers, notably political will and funding. In late 2014, China and Thailand agreed to build a stretch from Rayong on the Gulf of Thailand up to Thailand's northeast, passing through Nakhon Ratchasima and Nong Khai, and from there on to Vientiane, the Lao, capital, and Kunming in China.
This truly grand project will cover more than 1,800 km, and has the potential to change the regional map in all kinds of ways. The project inevitably faces huge issues in terms of engineering, logistics, land expropriation, technology transfer, manpower, the environment, funding, and timing. The government has recently decided to invoke Article 44 to allow work to start on the first section from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, overcoming some hurdles, but kicking off inevitable controversy.
The FCCT welcomes a highly qualified panel to discuss this ambitious endeavour.
Kittiratt Na Ranong
, former deputy prime minister and finance minister, and deputy leader of Pheu Thai.
, former Democrat member of parliament and Bangkok deputy governor with responsibility for traffic and transport under Apirak Kosayothin.
Associate Professor Sompong Sirisopasilp
, deputy dean for management and planning at Chulalongkorn University and former director of the Chulalongkorn Transportation Institute. Ajarn Sompong's research work includes the 'The Master Plan for the Development of Special Economic Zones in the Thai-Laos borders.'
Dr Sumet Ongkittikul
, research director for transport policy and logistics at the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI).
Foreign Correspondents' Club of Thailand
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