The Laos-China Railway will officially see construction begin this week after an official ceremony was held in Luang Prabang Province yesterday.
The railway, which will link Vientiane Capital with Kunming, China, is said will assist in transforming Laos from a landlocked country to a land-linked country, and offer a new means of transportation for passengers and cargo.
A number of Chinese contractors will undertake construction on six segments of track along the railway, which spans some 417 kilometers. The Laos-China railway is valued at US$ 5.8 billion, and is expected to be complete within five years.
Once operational, the railway will become an integral part of a planned regional rail route to link China and Singapore via Laos, Thailand, and Malaysia.
Travel on Laos-China Railway Cheaper for Passengers
The expected number of domestic rail passengers should initially reach 3.98 million per year, according to a study disclosed by Lao authorities, and could reach up to 8.62 million passengers per year in the future.
A trip from Vientiane to the Chinese border will cost passengers substantially less than the cost of road travel, while transportation of cargo is expected to be much lower than road transport as well.
Passenger trains will travel at speeds of 160km per hour in mountainous regions, and up to 200km per hour over flat terrain, while freight trains will travel at 120km per hour.
Construction Begins One Year After Groundbreaking Ceremony
Speaking at the official ceremony, Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong said work is to commence in a few days, just over one year after the official groundbreaking ceremony was held on 2 December last year.
Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith, Advisor of the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party’s Central Committee Somsavat Lengsavad, Chinese Ambassador to Laos Guan Huabing, and other officials also attended the ceremony.