The Future Forward Party (FFP) enlarged on its plan to develop a hyperloop line from Chiang Mai to Phuket if it wins the election, claiming a mass transit system in which passengers would travel in pods travelling at airplane-like speeds inside vacuum tubes would create large-scale opportunities for employment and industrial development.
FFP leader and prime ministerial candidate Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit said the Chiang Mai-Bangkok-Phuket Hyperloop line would increase Thailand’s GDP by 4.7% or 713 billion baht and would create up to 180,000 new jobs.
Mr Thanathorn cited parts of a report titled “Preliminary study on the implementation of a Hyperloop line in Thailand” conducted by a Canadian Hyperloop technology company TransPod.
The feasibility study report was written last October and privately funded by Mr Thanathorn.
“Apart from the powertrain, the entire system can be produced anywhere in the world. If we can build a Hyperloop in Thailand, our country will not only have one of the most effective mass transit systems, but it will also create large-scale opportunities for employment and industrial development,” Mr Thanathorn said.
The tycoon turned politician said the Hyperloop is an integrated system that mixes off-the shelf components and custom-designed components, which can be sourced and manufacturing in Thailand.
“If you invest in high-speed trains, all you do is import everything from abroad, whereas with the Hyperloop there’s an opportunity to build the industry in Thailand if you move first. This is the right time to be involved as well as to secure the intellectual property and build the supply-chain needed,” he said.
The construction cost of a Hyperloop line from Bangkok to Chiang Mai would be 598 million baht per kilometre, cheaper than a high-speed train which is expected to reach 727 million baht per kilometre.
The study also found fares for the Bangkok-Chiang Mai Hyperloop line would cost 1,012 baht, cheaper than fares for high-speed trains of 1,090 baht.
Mr Thanathorn said Thailand should stop investing in the high-speed rail project with China as investing in Hyperloop technology was now a better choice.