Laos-China Railway to start cross-border passenger service on April 13


Deputy PM Saleumxay Kommasith (centre) talks to local authorities. - Lao News Agency

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/Asia News Network): Preparations for the start of cross-border passenger services on the Laos-China Railway are progressing well, with the new service expected to start on April 13, said Deputy Prime Minister Saleumxay Kommasith.

The DPM, who is also Minister of Foreign Affairs, recently went to Luang Namtha province, which borders China, to monitor the progress of preparations, the Lao News Agency reported.

The first cross-border passenger train is expected to run on April 13, the day before the annual Lao New Year (Pi Mai Lao) holiday, which falls on April 14-16 every year.

Saleumxay also inspected immigration checkpoints at Boten Station in Luang Namtha, which is the main entry point into Laos.

The 1,035-km railway, which began operation in December 2021 and connects Vientiane to Kunming in southwest China’s Yunnan province, has so far only offered domestic passenger services, although trains regularly carry freight across the Laos-China border.

DPM Saleumxay instructed authorities in charge to work with the Laos-China Railway Company to ensure the new service operates to plan and runs smoothly.

The government has a deep interest in cross-border passenger travel since China eased its Covid-19 restrictions and opened its borders to allow international travel.

At a recent extraordinary meeting of the cabinet, Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone called for the urgent installation of immigration booths at train stations to facilitate travel by both inbound and outbound passengers.

The planned launch of the cross-border rail passenger service comes just in time for Pi Mai Lao, which coincides with Sankranta, the traditional New Year in the Buddhist calendar, which is also celebrated in Thailand and Cambodia.

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Laos , China , railway , cross-border , passenger , train

   

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