VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): The number of passengers travelling on the Laos-China Railway is continuing to grow, reaching a record high of 10,197 on March 4, according to the railway operator.
In January and February the railway carried a total of 417,400 passengers, an increase of 256.2 percent compared to the same period last year.
The railway also transported 647,700 tonnes of goods in these two months, an increase of 320 per cent compared to the same period last year.
In a bid to ensure the smooth operation of rail services, the Laos-China Railway Company Limited is monitoring passenger volume and planning train journeys accordingly, as well as improving travel arrangements and allowing tickets to be purchased further in advance of travel.
To accommodate more passengers, two EMU trains are being joined together, while the number of carriages on standard trains has been increased to 12.
In addition, railway staff are being trained in the use of Chinese, English and Thai languages to ease communication with foreign travellers, while other aspects of service are also being improved.
Rail personnel are also carrying out regular security checks on entry and exit at stations and supervising people embarking and disembarking from trains, to ensure the movement of passengers is orderly and safe.
In light of the increase in passenger numbers, the Laos-China Railway Company Limited is providing an extra service between Vientiane and Luang Prabang.
The normal timetable sees an EMU train make a round trip journey each day, departing Vientiane at 7.30am and travelling through the provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha to the Boten border crossing into China.
The extra train will depart Vientiane at 9:20am and arrive in Luang Prabang at 11:13am. Travelling south, the train will depart Luang Prabang at 11:40am and arrive in Vientiane at 13:33pm.