After much consideration and debate, bullet trains are expected to launch in Thailand by 2023. The bullet trains will travel at 250km per hour, and there are two projects in the works, both of which will employ Chinese high-speed rail (HSR) technology.

Aerial view of multiple units at a parking lot of China\'s biggest maintenance base
Bullet trains are expected to come to Thailand in 2023 © Visual China Group via Getty Images

The first is a 252.5km project running from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima, which is expected to open in 2023. It will stop at Don Mueang Airport and the historic capital of Ayuthaya and will terminate at Nakhon Ratchasima, commonly known as Khorat. The plan is to eventually extend it to to the Laos border at Nong Khai, linking with another high-speed rail service currently under construction in Laos, and the ultimate aim is to run it to Kunming in China.

Wat Arun temple in Bangkok during sunset
Bangkok will have a new high-speed rail service ©Anek S/500px/500px Royalty Free

Thailand is working with China's State Railway Group Co Ltd on the second project, a 355km line from Nakhon Ratchasima to Nong Khai. Expected to begin service in 2024 and operating in addition to the existing Airport Rail Link, the new HSR link will join Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in greater Bangkok, to Chachoengsao, Chonburi, Sriracha and Pattaya in the east, as well as U-Tapao airport. Transferring between Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang currently involves a shuttle bus journey lasting an hour or more, but HSR will reduce this to just 20 minutes. 

A bullet train in Spain
High-speed trains reduce travel time between destinations © Matias Nieto/Cover/Getty Images

The line will make things easier as the Thai government plans to move approximately 10% of flights from Bangkok to U-Tapao to ease congestion at Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang. In addition, a new rail hub is expected to open in 2021 in the Bang Sue district of Bangkok to replace the 103-year-old Hualamphong Station, and it will serve passengers using both HSR and the country's existing railway network.

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