VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Ticket prices on the Laos-China railway will be cheaper than travel over the same distance by road, with the price beginning at 0.3 yuan/person/kilometre (about 350 kip), while the travel time will be much shorter.
According to a promotional document on the Laos-China railway published by the Lao News Agency (KPL), based on this rate, the cost of travel from Vientiane to Boten will be about 140,000 kip.
In addition, the rail journey will be much short than the 20 hours it takes to travel this distance by road.
For freight, the cost will be 0.5 yuan/ton/kilometre (about 600 kip), which is cheaper than transport by road and will take far less than the 45 hours for freight transport by road.
According to the Laos-China Railway Company Ltd., the railway will have 33 stations in total, of which 21 will be operational in the initial phase and 12 will come into service in the next phase.
Of the 33 stations, there are 11 passenger and freight stations together and one specialised freight station in Vientiane. There are 284 intersections along the railway track.
Most passenger services will take place during the day while freight trains will run overnight.
The number of round trips for freight and passenger services will be based on passenger and freight demand.
Initially there will be 18 train trips, of which four will be passenger and 14 freight.
At the beginning, when 21 stations are operational, 23 trips per day will be possible, but when 33 stations are in service the number of trips can be increased to 39 per day.
The 422.4-km railway runs from Vientiane to the Chinese border through the provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha, passing through 75 tunnels with a combined length of 197.83km.
It is expected that the railway will cut the cost of transport through Laos by 30-40 per cent compared to travel by road, thus giving a boost to trade and investment.