BANGKOK: Malaysia and Thailand will soon begin discussions on the feasibility of constructing a 1,400km High Speed Rail (HSR) connecting Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok, according to the Thai Transport Minister.
Arkom Termpittayapaisith said the project, if it gets the green light, would shorten the journey between the two capitals to six hours.
Discussions between the two countries would begin at the official level before proceeding to the ministerial level, he said, without specifying the exact date for the start of the official talks.
“Thailand already has a southbound high-speed train project in the works from Bangkok to Hua Hin. Officials will look into whether that line should be extended or if a totally new line should be built from Bangkok,” he told the local media in Bangkok on Wednesday.
Arkom said he preferred an extension from Prachuap Khiri Khan in Hua Hin to Padang Besar in Sadao, before linking to Kuala Lumpur.
During the Malaysia-Thailand annual consultation meeting in Bangkok a few months ago, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his Thai counterpart Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha agreed to conduct a feasibility study on the HSR project connecting the two capitals.
The project, said Najib, would complement the HSR linking Malaysia’s capital and Singapore.
Meanwhile, deputy permanent secretary for transport Peraphon Thawornsupacharoen said the State Railway of Thailand (SRT) would start talks with the Malaysian authorities.
According to him, China and Japan had already expressed an interest in the feasibility study for the Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur HSR project.
He also did not discount the possibility of the Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur HSR project extending its reach to Laos and China in the future.
Peraphon said out of the 1,400 km Bangkok-Kuala Lumpur HSR rail line, 500km would be in Malaysia. – Bernama