Japanese consortium wins $923m Thai rail project

A group comprising Mitsubishi, Hitachi and Sumitomo will build the Red Line elevated system, which will be partly financed by Thailand’s Future Fund.

Thailand’s state-owned rail operator has selected Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Hitachi and Sumitomo Corporation to design and build the Red Line Construction Project.

The turnkey contract is valued at THB32.4 billion ($923 million; €810 million). Completion of the works is expected for 2020.

MHI will be in charge of the design and procurement of systems other than rolling stocks, Hitachi will be responsible for designing and building carriages and Sumitomo will oversee administration and local installation work.

The scheme is meant to relieve congestion and air pollution in a country were the population remains very reliant on cars.

Departing from Bang Sue Station, located in the centre of Bangkok, the project will consist of a 26.4km line to the north and a 14.6km line to the west. It will be constructed as a fully elevated rail system.

The northern stretch will be built using a ¥38.2 billion ($2.8 billion; €2.4 billion) loan by Japan’s International Cooperation Agency, while the West Line will be constructed using the Thai Government’s THB100 billion infrastructure vehicle.

The Thailand Future Fund, launched at the end of last year, is currently seeking contributions from institutional investors.

China Investment Corporation, the Chinese sovereign wealth fund responsible for managing part of the country’s foreign exchange reserves, has expressed interest in investing in the vehicle.