Funding of 85·3bn baht for the construction of a 323 km railway from Den Chai in northern Thailand to Chiang Rai and Chiang Khong on the border with Laos was approved by the government on July 31.
Three construction contracts are to be let, with work expected to begin next year for opening in 2023.
There would be 26 stations plus a freight terminal at the border. The double-track line would require 40 overbridges, 102 underbridges and tunnels at Phrae (1 125 m and 6 375 m long), Phayao (2 825 m) and Chiang Rai (3 600 m).
Traffic is estimated at 5 600 passengers/day and 2·2 million tonnes of freight a year.