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35th ASEAN Summit: discussions to focus on regional rail development

Proposals to improve ASEAN’s rail network and connectivity to meet international standards will be discussed at the 35th ASEAN Summit scheduled for early November.

State Railway of Thailand (SRT) Acting Governor Worawut Mala said topics up for discussion include ASEAN's rail connection development, ways to advertise the national rail system, and railway upgrades.

An online "ASEAN Railways Portal" was also launched at the ASEAN Railway CEOs’ Conference in Thailand on October 28 to provide the public with news and information about rail links in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

Speaking at the conference, Worawut  said Thailand has five different projects that it plans to use to connect its rail network with neighbouring countries, including Singapore (in the south), Laos and China (in the northeast), Cambodia (in the east) and Myanmar (in the west).

In addition to these projects, Thailand and Malaysia are also discussing a plan to revive the Sugnai Kolok-Pasir Mas rail route for the sake of economic development and border trade, he said.

The Bangkok Post cited a source as saying that the SRT has a five-year plan to expand Thailand's rail network from its current length of 800km to 4,565km.

The source said 841km of track will be an extension of the normal rail system, while 2,476km are set aside for a dual-track system and 1,248km are planned for a high-speed railway.

The 35th ASEAN Summit and related meetings will take place in Bangkok and its neighbouring province of Nonthaburi from November 2-4.