High-speed train Bangkok- Nong Khai, Thailand

The Thai government has rushed to approve a high-speed train between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima (250km) without proper EIA or public consultation.


For years, several Thai governments announced different high-speed train projects that would link the capital to the north and Laos, and ultimately to China. However, most of them stalled for years due to legal issues or lack of funding. In July 2017, the Thai government paved the way to start the construction of the first of those projects that would connect Bangkok and the northeastern city of Nakhon Ratchasima, and that will eventually reach Nong Khai on the border with Laos. The project, that will cost USD 5.2 billion, is linked to the One Belt One Road Initiative, launched by the Chinese government to connect China with the rest of Asia, Europe, and Africa [1]. 

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Basic Data
NameHigh-speed train Bangkok- Nong Khai, Thailand
ProvinceBangkok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Ayutthaya, Saraburi,
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Specific CommoditiesPassenger transportation
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsInvestment: USD 5.2 billion

Lenght of the line:

- Bangkok - Nakhon Ratchasima [phase 1] : 250 kilometres

- Total lenght: Bangkok - Nong Khai: 607 kilometres
Project Area (in hectares)450
Level of Investment (in USD)5,200,000,000
Type of PopulationSemi-urban
Start Date01/05/2017
Company Names or State EnterprisesState Railway of Thailand (SRT) from Thailand - Operator
China Railway Design Corp (CRDC) from China - Design
Relevant government actorsMinistry of Transport of Thailand, National Council for Peace and Order (Thailand), Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersEastern People's Network, Four Regions Slum Network
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)LOW (some local organising)
When did the mobilization beginPREVENTIVE resistance (precautionary phase)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Objections to the EIA
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Land dispossession
Potential: Displacement, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusUnder construction
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.There was barely any public information before the construction was initiated. Affected communities did not have time to respond.
Sources and Materials

[5] Government allows railway project to encroach on protected land, Isaan Record, June 17 2017
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[6] Thailand signs deals with Chinese state firms for high-speed railway, Reuters, September 6, 2017
[click to view]

[4] Thai-China rail project: Korat in just 77 minutes, Bangkok Post, July 12 2017
[click to view]

[8] Thai-Chinese rail project falls in price. Bangkok Post, March 23, 2018
[click to view]

[1] Thailand approves long-delayed US$5.2b rail link to China, South China Morning Post, July 11 2017
[click to view]

[3] Thailand chases Chinese money, but at what Cost, South China Morning Post, July 23 2017
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[7] After delays, ground broken for Thailand-China railway project, Reuters, December 21, 2017
[click to view]

[2] Academics concerned over Chinese exemptions for high-speed rail project, The Nation, June 17 2017
[click to view]

Other Documents

Map of the cooperation on the Thailand's railway infrastructure development between Thailand and China Map of the cooperation on the Thailand's railway infrastructure development between Thailand and China, including the line between Bangkok and Nakhon Ratchasima
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorLaura Villadiego, Carro de Combate, [email protected]
Last update14/06/2018