On January 26, 2015, the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning, the Ministry of Transport, had signed the contract to hire Panya Consultants Co., Ltd. to carry out the Detailed Design of Double Track Railway, Den Chai-Chiang Mai Project with the operation period of 14 months.
On July 29, 2014, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) approved the principle of strategic framework for the development of transport infrastructure, B.E. 2558-2565, proposed by the Ministry of Transport. The strategy comprised four aspects and five plans; the development of intercity rail network, the development of public transport network to solve traffic problem in Bangkok and its perimeter, the enhancement of highway potential to connect production base of the country to the neighboring countries, the development of water transport network and the improvement of air transport service capacity, which are useful for related agencies to use as guideline to prepare long-term detailed program for the project. Additionally, NCPO also consented to the emergency development guideline carried out in the fiscal year of 2014-2015 by approving the initial operation budget of 108,000 MB to connect the transport network with the commercial gate, key cities, Bangkok and its perimeter and to develop rail transport infrastructure by improving the infrastructure of the existing railway where the traffic congestion occurred for the use of goods transport. For other six routes of local railway, covering the distance of 887 km, the budget was 127,472 MB. The project operation period had been from 2015 to 2020. The rail routes will be in full operational capacity in 2020. If the State Railway of Thailand continue and complete the construction of all double track railways, the rail transport will increase from 288 runs per day at present to 800 runs per day in the future. For the future new standard, the construction of standard-sized double track railways (1.435 m) of two routes; the route passing Nong Khai-Nakhon Ratchasima-Laem Chabang Port, covering the distance of 737 km and the project operation period in 2015-2021 and the route passing Chiang Khong-Den Chai- Ban Pha Chi, covering the distance of 655 km and the operation period in 2015-2021, has been carried out. The construction is included in the operation plan, phase 2 (2016-2020) and so is the budget allocation for its feasibility study and detailed design.
The government’s policy statement on September, 12, 2014, Section 6, the Enhancement of the Country’s Economy, Clause 6.12, the Development of Transport Infrastructure and Clause 7, the Enhancement of Roles and Opportunity in the ASEAN Community, focusing on the connection of transport routes and logistics system from the production base in communities to processing sources and key commercial gates to create economic opportunity to areas in the country and to support the transport volume expected to increase from the entering to the AEC.
According to the policy mentioned above, the Ministry of Transport, by the Office of Transport and Traffic Policy and Planning (OTP), had to carry out the feasibility study and detailed design of the Double Track Railway, Den Chai-Chiang Mai Project to be in accordance with the strategy of transport infrastructure development, the government policy and the Cabinet Resolutions to enhance goods and passenger transport capacity, tourism potential in significant tourist sites in northern region, road capacity and public transport efficiency in urban, rural and international areas as well as to reduce time and environmental pollution problems and to save fuel energy used in the country’s transport section and also to influence people to use rail transport more to help decrease road accident. The study also focused on passenger and goods transport to enhance the railway transport network, to improve the ability of people accessing the system and to support the economic system expansion and growth distribution to cities according to the government policy.