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Thailand to start US$12.2b railway project in September

[BANGKOK] Thailand will begin constructing a 400 billion baht (US$12.22 billion) railway project in September, a deputy prime minister said on Thursday, the latest move by the military government to kick-start the economy and modernise the country's aging rail network.

Thailand has agreed with China to build the 873-km dual-track railway from Nong Khai on Thailand's border with Laos to its ports and industrial zones in the east.

Another line would link Bangkok with the central province of Saraburi about 108 km away.

"We expect it will cost about 400 billion baht and will be completed within two and a half years from the construction date," said deputy prime minister and transport minister Air Chief Marshal Prajin Junthong.

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Work on the first phase joining Bangkok to Saraburi and Saraburi to Rayong is set to begin on Sept 1. The second phase connecting Saraburi to Korat province and Korat to Nong Khai will begin on Dec 1.

Mr Prajin told reporters there are around 12 to 15 private companies interested in funding the project.