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Thailand takes a long-term gamble on Isaan region

Work underway on the dual track train linkbetween Khon Kaen and Korat, but maybe not fast enough. (Photo by PeterJanssen)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA, Thailand -- If all goes according to plan, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha will make a media splash next year with the launch of a 60 kilometer stretch of dual-track train line between Nakhon Ratchasima and Khon Kaen provinces in northeast Thailand.

Work on the short spur -- part of a larger project to upgrade the region's freight transport to Thailand's main deep sea port -- is being speeded up to be completed before the next election. But whether the planned publicity stunt will win Prayuth's coup-installed government popularity in the country's poor northeast region remains to be seen.

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