The new Northern Railway Line From Den Chai to Chiang Khong Has Started Drilling tunnels

The Denchai-Chiang Khong route is another strategic route for developing Thailand’s rail system, aiming to connect the existing railway network to neighboring countries such as Lao PDR and Myanmar. This will facilitate travel and transportation of goods from Thailand to neighboring countries more easily, while reducing costs

The project starts at Denchai station in Phrae province and aims to head north through 59 suburbs in 17 districts across 4 provinces, including Phrae, Lampang, Phayao, and end at the Chiang Khong border checkpoint in Chiang Rai province.

The brief details of the new dual-track railway project from Denchai to Chiang Rai to Chiang Khong is shown below.

  • Distance: 323 kilometers
  • Number of stations: 26 (4 major stations, 9 minor stations, and 12 flag stops)
  • Maximum operating speed: 160 km/hour
  • Number of provinces: 4 provinces including Phrae, Lampang, Phayao, and Chiang Rai
  • Container yards: 5 yards
  • 4 tunnels with a total length of 13.9 kilometers
  • Project cost: 72.92 billion baht
  • Expected to begin operations in 2028

Currently, there are three civil engineering contracts under construction. Contract 1 is the Denchai-Nago route with a distance of 104 km. Contract 2 is the Ngao-Chiang Rai route with a distance of 135 km. Contract 3 is the Chiang Rai-Chiang Khong route with a distance of 84 km.

For tunneling, the excavation works will deal with soil and rock layers located exactly at the border between Lampang and Phayao with a total length of 2.7 kms. Inside the tunnel, there are two types of connecting paths: emergency escape routes with 11 access points and control system rooms with four access points. The project will also feature the longest tunnel in Thailand at 6.2 kilometers.

At 3 March 2023, overall progress is at 0.75% as planned. For Contract 2, excavation works for the north embankment have begun on 16th February 2023 and has achieved about 4 meters of the tunnelling, which accounts for 0.15% progress during the first 10 days of work for both up and down tracks.

Below are some the stunning photos excavation works of the project.

Image Source: Kanok Khemnark

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