Thai students train in China for railways

The Lu Ban High-Speed Railway Institute is one of the cooperative efforts of colleges in China and Thailand in cultivating railway technicians. [PHOTO BY WU TONG/FOR CHINA DAILY]

BANGKOK-"I want to bring what I have learned in China about railways back to serve Thailand," says Kantithat Danaut, expecting the construction of the China-Thailand railway to pick up speed.

Nakhon Ratchasima province in northeastern Thailand, where the 23-year-old was born, is expected to be linked with the capital, Bangkok, by the China-Thailand railway that started construction in 2017.

Encouraged by his mother, Kantithat took part in a training program in 2017, which was the beginning of his high-speed railway dream.

Under the joint training program for high-speed railway talent development between China and Thailand, Kantithat and 39 other Thai students first received one-month language training at the Confucius Institute at Khon Kaen University, and then went to the Wuhan Railway Vocational College of Technology in Central China's Hubei province for an eight-month training spell.

Kantithat says his teachers and schoolmates were of great help during his stay in Wuhan. He recalls he was excited when first taking a high-speed train in the country.

"You can feel how fast it is when there is another high-speed train running from the opposite direction," he says.

He says he wished to go to China to continue learning about high-speed railway next year.

As the bilateral railway talent development cooperation continues, more vocational institutions in Thailand have joined the training program, importing technologies and curriculum development projects from China, to help Thailand foster railway talent, and bring Thai youths like Kantithat closer to their dream of a railway driver or technician.

Sitting at the controls of a state-of-the-art simulator, Preeyaporn Kaenavong and her classmates are trying to accelerate a train out of a station.

The "virtual train" gathers pace as they guard against unknown hazards ahead-from adverse weather conditions to dangers such as obstacles on the track.

Preeyaporn and her classmates are operating a train driver simulator, the centerpiece of the Lu Ban High-Speed Railway Institute, which was established in 2019 in Banphai Industrial and Community Education College in Thailand's northeastern province of Khon Kaen, in a collaborative effort with the Wuhan Railway Vocational College of Technology in China.

The simulation driving training base was a gift from Zhengzhou J&T Hi-Tech in Central China's Henan province.

The Lu Ban High-Speed Railway Institute is teaching prospective drivers and engineers how to operate high-speed railway.

"I want to go to China to continue my study and board a high-speed train to experience the speed," says Preeyaporn.

Junyar Pabu, former head and now adviser to the Banphai Industrial and Community Education College, says that in recent years, Thailand's Ministry of Education has been enhancing cooperation with its Chinese counterpart and encouraging closer cooperation between Thai and Chinese vocational colleges to cultivate railway talent.

Besides the Wuhan college, the Banphai college is also cooperating with China's vocational colleges in Guizhou and Yunnan provinces, as well as Chongqing, Junyar says.

Under the support of Chinese partner colleges, Thailand's vocational colleges have made great progress in railway talent development, especially in curriculum development, teacher training, teaching hardware and joint training programs, he says.

"The China-Thailand railway talent development cooperation fully demonstrates that the Belt and Road Initiative has promoted the common development and prosperity along the routes," Junyar says.

Kantithat says: "I'm waiting for the China-Thailand railway, hoping it can be completed as soon as possible so that I can contribute to its development."

Shall not be reproduced without permission:ZHAO CITY » Thai students train in China for railways