PM to launch railway construction in Luang Prabang


Luang Prabang province: — Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith will officially launch the start of construction for the Laos-China railway project at a ceremony on December 25.

The ceremony to kick off railway construction will take place in Luang Prabang district’s Phonxay village where a railway bridge spanning the Mekong River will be built.

Director of the provincial Public Works and Transport Department Mr Fasanan Thammavong, told the press on Wednesday that the PM has agreed to launch construction on December 25.

Last week Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong, also discussed the matter with relevant officials in the province.

The railway bridge will be part of the planned 427-km Laos-China railway running from the Chinese border to Vientiane and through the four provinces of Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane.

The railway through Luang Prabang province covers a length of 80 kilometres taking in the three districts of Chomphet, Luang Prabang and Xiengngeun.

A Chinese construction company will build the railway bridge across the Mekong and four ports that will be used to handle construction materials. The contractors would have preferred to utilise six river ports, but two locations were not suitable as they are tourism sites. Mr Fasanan added that a Chinese construction company would spend two years building the railway bridge across the Mekong River.

Presently, Luang Namtha and Oudomxay provinces have installed some red markers to set out the railway land, while Vientiane province is constructing the railway worker camps for thousands of labourers.

The Laos-China Railway Project is estimated to cost about US$6 billion and will run from the border area of Boten in Luang Namtha province to Vientiane. It is scheduled for completion in 2021 and is 70 percent owned by China and 30 percent by Laos.

A railway will also be built to connect Khammuan province’s Thakhaek district to the Vietnamese border, from where it will run to a coastal port in Vietnam. Another track will be built from Thakhaek to the Cambodian border.

The Laos-China railway will have a 1.435-metre standard-gauge track with 33 stations, 21 of which will be operational initially.

There will be 72 tunnels with a combined length of 183.9 km, representing 43 percent of the railway’s entire length.

The line will also have 170 bridges totalling 69.2 km in length, accounting for 15.8 percent of the total. Passenger trains will travel at 160 km per hour, while the speed of rail freight will be 120 km per hour.

Source: Vientiane Times