Huge transport infrastructure investment in the south

State Railway of Thailand
State Railway of Thailand

The Ministry of Transport is investing more than THB 21 billion to upgrade the transportation system in the South by building 10 double-track railways, expanding Ranong airport to support the ‘Land Bridge’ project, expanding Krabi airport and transferring to AOT to manage, and implementing improvements at 6 other regional airports.

The plan to create a dual-track railway network in the southern region was approved by the Ministry of Transport, and the Thai State Railway is currently constructing three routes with a total distance of 422 kms at a budget of THB 45,358 million. If all goes according to plan, routes completed and put into service in 2023 will be the following:

– Nakhon Pathom – Hua Hin, 165 km costing THB 19.270 million. Nakhon Pathom to Nong Pla Lai started construction in October 2021 and is now at 93.95% completion, 1.98% ahead of schedule. The second phase, Nong Pla Lai – Hua Hin, is now at 89.62% completion, 0.02% ahead of plan.

– Hua Hin – Prachuap Khiri Khan, 90 km costing THB 9,853 million is at 97.54% completion, 2.46% behind schedule.

– Prachuap Khiri Khan – Chumphon, 167 km costing THB 16,235 million. The first contract, Prachuap Khiri Khan – Bang Saphan Noi is now at 81.96% completion, 8.92% behind schedule.

Further plans for the period 2022–2026 include 3 routes with a total distance of 554 km and an investment of THB 83,050 million, which are namely:

– Chumphon – Surat Thani, 167 km costing THB 23,285 million.

– Surat Thani – Hat Yai – Songkhla, 339 km costing THB 51,823. This phase is currently in the process of considering the Environmental Impact Assessment report and preparing for submission to the Cabinet.

– Hat Yai – Padang Besar, EIA report approved, ready to submit to the Cabinet Further plans for the period 2027-2036 include the construction of four new railway lines with a total distance of 419 km and a total investment amount of THB 98,676 million which are: – Chumphon – Ranong, 109 km costing THB 29,223 million. Currently in the design stage in line with the ‘Land Bridge’ project.

– Surat Thani – Phang Nga – Tha Nun, 163 km costing THB 36,128 million.

– Surat Thani – Donsak, 79 km costing THB 18,102 million. Design completed and now in the process of updating the EIA report according to the opinion of the Kor Chor – Thap Put – Krabi, 68 km costing THB 15,223 million. Preliminary design completed.

Phase One plans for Ranong Airport are to support the ‘Land Bridge’ project by increasing its status to an international airport that can accommodate an increased number of passengers and freight. This will run from 2023–2025 and cost THB 2,280 million. The runway length will be increased from 2000 metres to 2,400 metres, allowing 230 seat aircraft to land.

A new parallel taxiway will be built to allow 6-10 flights per hour. The apron will be expanded to accommodate ten planes instead of three. And constructing a new international passenger terminal to accommodate 2.8 million passengers per year, (1,000 people per hour), up from 800,000 passengers per year, (300 people per hour).

Additional parking areas will also be built increasing parking spaces from 250 to 500. Phase 2 will run from 2025–2028, this will see expansion of the runway length from 2,400 metres to 2,990 metres. Construction of a further parallel taxiway and a safety area at either end of the runway costing THB 1,250 million. THB 2.9 billion baht will be invested to expand Krabi airport so that it can accommodate 8 million passengers per year and be ready to be managed by AOT. The plans will increase the capacity from 1,500 people per hour to 3,000 people per hour, or from 4 million people per year to 8 million people per year, costing THB 2,923 million.

The construction plans include an apron with a new airport electrical system, which was already completed on January 26th 2021. The construction of a new passenger terminal building and improvements to terminals 1 and 2 and the car park building, expected to be completed by August 2022. And the construction of a parallel taxiway expected to be completed by April 2023.

There are also plans for development to expand the runway length by expropriating land and the improvement of the approach lights to CAT I pilot lights. Six of the other 11 airports in the southern region also have plans to be expanded, these are; Surat Thani, Phuket, Phang Nga, (Phuket 2), Trang, Betong and Chumphon, costs will be budgeted in 2022. The Department of Airports is in the process of preparing for delivery to The Airports of Thailand Public Company Limited, (AOT), to manage the airports instead of the Ministry of Transport.