Two years ago, Lao, Vietnamese and Korean experts and officials met in the capital of Laos to commence a study on the feasibility of a proposed 555km railway that would link Vientiane, passing through Thakaek (Khammouane) to Vung Ang Port in Vietnam. Last week, that feasibility study was declared complete. The railway was announced to be a viable project, worth pursuing.
The study was conducted with a US$3 million grant from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), with the aim of preparing a master plan and providing capacity building to the railway sectors of Laos and Vietnam.
The feasibility study recommended 150km/h as the most apt train speed for trains speeding on the railway.
The Vientiane-Thakhaek-Mu Gia-Vung Ang railway (technically known as the A3 rail project) is one of the six rail network projects being considered by the government of Laos to transform the country from its status as a land-locked country to a land-linked one. If realised, it will connect Laos to Vung Ang seaport in central Ha Tinh province, Vietnam. It will also be an important link within ASEAN.
The railway projects include the Laos-China railway, Savannakhet-Lao Bao to the Vietnamese port of Dongha, Thakhaek-Savannakhet-Pakxe-Vangtao, and Pakxe-Veunkham (Lao-Cambodian border).