BANGKOK, May 25 (Xinhua) -- The "Contract 2.3" for the Bangkok-Nakhon Ratchasima high-speed railway between Thailand and China is likely to be signed in October, said Thai Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob on Monday.
Saksayam made the announcement after attending a virtual meeting of the 28th Thai-Chinese Joint Committee with Ning Jizhe, vice chairman of China's National Development and Reform Commission.
The minister said the Thai and Chinese team had agreed that the contract, estimated at 50.6 billion baht (1.58 billion U.S. dollars), involves the cost of purchasing track, electricity systems and machinery, as well as procurement of train carriages and training.
Under the contract, 80 percent of the payment will be made in the U.S. currency and the remaining 20 percent in Thai baht.
There is a total of 14 contracts involved in the 253-km rail route from Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima in the Northeast as a part of the Sino-Thai high-speed train project, linking Bangkok to Nong Khai, bordering Laos.
Saksayam said depending on the COVID-19 pandemic situation, there is a possibility that the signing might take place earlier than October.
The minister said that Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will preside over the signing ceremony at the Government House, and according to the plan, the first 253-km leg of the railway will commence service in year 2023.