First train test on Laos-China railway planned for August

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN): The first trial run of a train on the under-construction Laos-China railway is scheduled to take place in August.

Track has been laid along the whole length of the 422.4-km railway and the test will be conducted in August before the railway opens for operation in December, an official working on the project said.

It expected that the railway will be finished according to plan and will open for public use in December, she added.

Construction of all the stations along the railway is set for completion in September and October.

The terminal station in Vientiane is now 70 percent complete and interior building work is currently underway, with completion scheduled in September.

There are 10 passenger stations in Vientiane, Phonhong, Vangvieng, Kasy, Luang Prabang, Nga, Xay, Namor, Nateuy, and Boten. There are also 22 stations for the loading and unloading of freight.

The railway, which connects Vientiane to the Chinese border, traverses the provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha, passing through 75 tunnels with a combined length of 197.83km, according to the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd.

Construction of the US$5.986 billion (37.4 billion yuan) railway began in December 2016.

The Laos-China railway is a strategic part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Lao government’s plan to transform Laos from a landlocked country into a land link within the region.

When it is operational, the railway will cut the cost of transport through northwestern Laos by 30-40 percent compared to transport by road.

The railway runs from the Boten border crossing in northern Laos, bordering China, to Vientiane, with trains running at a maximum speed of 160km per hour.

The government is confident the railway will spur socio-economic development and enable Laos to make greater progress. - Vientiane Times/Asia News Network

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