After six months, China-Laos Railway shows great promise

BEIJING: Laotian Thepmoukda used to travel between Vientiane, the capital of Laos, and Boten, a city that borders China, for business by car.

“The trip took several hours. The road was slippery, especially during the monsoon, and some sections were even not built with asphalt but with mud,” the 27-year-old said, adding that she usually prayed onboard with the Zen gesture for herself and other passengers.

“Some sections wind through the mountains. I was afraid when I travelled by car, especially on foggy and rainy days.”

But since the opening of the cross-border railway linking China and Laos in December, she feels better about the journey.

The first ride Thepmoukda took on the train was when she travelled back from Boten to Vientiane. She said it reminded her of her university days, when she used to travel around China during school breaks while studying in Shanghai.

“Most importantly, it is safe. It only takes about three hours, half the time it takes by car,” she said.

“Many of my family members and friends had never travelled by train before. The opening of the China-Laos Railway has given many Laotian people like them the opportunity to experience this historic infrastructure firsthand.”

The 1,035km line runs between Kunming, the capital of Yunnan province, and Vientiane. The trip takes about 10 hours.

The railway has improved the flow of goods between China and Laos, as well as among members of Asean, according to China State Railway Group, which manages all of China’s railway projects.

The potential for cross-border passenger transport is also promising. By June 2, the railway had handled over 3.2 million passenger trips, with 2.8 million in China and 410,000 in Laos, said the company. — China Daily/ANN

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