Thailand could save up to 100 billion baht by manufacturing and assembling trains to serve its new railway projects, according to Ditsapon Padungkul, president of the Thailand Railway Engineering Association.
He said Thailand has the capacity to make the machinery and parts to serve planned rail-infrastructure including the Thai-Chinese high-speed railway from Bangkok to Nong Khai and the expansion of Bangkok's electric train network. "Our studies have revealed Thailand is capable of manufacturing around 40% of the machines needed for these railway projects," Mr Ditsapon told reporters at an event to introduce the 4th RAIL Asia Expo & RISE Symposium, running on March 28-29.
He urged the government to help nourish local manufacturing capacity and talent by including investors in rail projects to use locally made and assembled parts. "Doing so would decrease capital investment for maintenance costs by an initial 20%," he added.
According to Mr Ditsapon, local engineers and auto manufacturing companies in Thailand have the capability to assemble and fix train carriages and locomotives. Local auto manufacturing already has the advanced capacity to produce and assemble parts such as brakes, wheels and suspension systems for train systems, he added.
"However, the problem is that local manufacturing sectors has not been given enough time to prepare or produce staff to serve the expansion of railway infrastructure," he said. Thailand might be major auto assembling hub. But in terms of rail systems, the country has solely relied on imports.
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