Thailand’s Council of Economic Ministers has approved a $3.36bn (THB112bn) plan to build four high-speed train routes in the country.

The plan forms part of the recently submitted $44bn(THB1.47tr) plan by the transport ministry to upgrade the national railways.

The newly approved projects include rail lines linking Bangkok with the northern province of Chiang Mai, the northeastern province of Nong Khai, the eastern province of Chan-tha-bu-ri and Padang Besar, a town located at the northern part of Perlis state in Malaysia.

Work will be carried out from 2010 to 2013.

The transport ministry has been directed to start by developing a feasibility study and investment plan for a rail route linking Bangkok and the eastern province of Ra-yong as the pilot project.