The first passenger train to travel along the Laos-China Railway is expected to arrive in Laos from China on Friday.
The Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) passenger train has been officially named “Lane Xang,” according to a notice issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday.
The name Lane Xang is derived from the name of the former empire of Laos, which translates as the Land of a Million Elephants.
Plans for the purchase of a second passenger train are underway, with the second train to be named “Khaen Lao” after the iconic reed instrument whose music has been recognized as World Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO in 2018.
Lao Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh confirmed last week that the Laos-China Railway would open as scheduled on 2 December in celebration of Laos National Day.
However, he noted that the Lao government plans to launch the Laos-China Railway with a focus on freight traffic first, followed by tourist transportation when conditions allow amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Construction of the historic railway linking the Lao capital of Vientiane to the Chinese border over a distance of 427 km began in December 2016, linking five provinces including Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang, Vientiane Province, and Vientiane Capital.
The railway includes 198 km of tunnels, and will traverse 62 km of bridges. It will run from the Boten border gate, connecting Northern Laos to China, down to Vientiane Capital, with an operating speed of 160km per hour.