Tag Archives: lao-china railway

Thailand’s China-backed Bangkok-Nong Khai Railway Back On Move

Rail Linked: Thailand's Bangkok-Nong Khai Railway to link with Lao-China Railway

Construction of Thailand’s component of the regional high-speed rail network linked to China’s ambitious One Belt One Road plan is on the move again after years of delays hampered the progress of the high-profile project.

A first 3.5km phase was the subject of a groundbreaking ceremony in December 2018, presided over by Thai PM Prayut Chan-Ocha.

Set to link up with the Lao-China railway at the Laos border, the railway will connect Thailand’s capital Bangkok with the country’s northeastern city of Nong Khai on the Lao border, a distance of  873 km (542 miles).

Trains will run at top speeds of up to 250km/h, leading overland travel time from Bangkok to Nong Khai to be cut from 11 to three hours when the full line is operational in 2023.

The 250-km (155 mile) section linking Bangkok to Nakhon Ratchasima is expected to be operational in 2021.

The bidding process for a further six phases should be carried out in 2019, Thailand’s Bangkok Post has reported.

It is expected that once completed, rail passengers traversing Thailand with appropriate tickets and travel documents shall be able to proceed onward to the Lao capital of Vientiane and stations in Laos beyond and onward to stations in China’s Yunnan including the provincial capital Kunming.

After leaving Na Tha station in Nong Khai’s Muang district, the railway is set to pass over the Mekong River via a new Thai-Lao friendship bridge specifically designed to accommodate the expected rail passenger and freight traffic.

The Laotian Times has provided periodic updates on the progress of the Lao China Railway project as construction continues toward a 2021 completion target.

The route of the Lao-China railway is explained in this video narrated in the Lao language with subtitles in English and Chinese.

Railway Cuts Through, Belt & Road Reviewed At China-ASEAN Meet

Lao-China Railway scale model

Travelers, tourists and residents in Laos can expect to be able to ride the rails to traverse some of the country’s key destinations and onward to China’s Yunnan province and beyond by the end of 2021, and eventually, in the other direction to Bangkok, a major strategic dialogue meeting in China has been told.

The project was 40% complete and on track, a senior academic from Laos told a strategic dialogue forum in Nanning to mark the 5th anniversary of the Belt and Road Initiative, a major China-led initiative to boost infrastructure on regional trade routes.

The Forum was held in conjunction with the China-ASEAN Expo.

Speaking at the 11th China-ASEAN Think Tank Strategic Dialogue Forum was held in Nanning, Guangxi, the Associate Dean of the Lao Academy of Social Sciences said the railway would serve to connect China and ASEAN more closely was key to transforming Laos from a landlocked country to a land-linked country, news portal sina.com.cn reported (in Chinese).

Lao Academy of Social Sciences Associate Dean

Lao Academy of Social Sciences Associate Dean speaks in China

She said that the Sino-Royal Railway is conducive to the exchange of people and investment and the trade in Laos and Chinese goods.

After the commissioning, the railway would contribute to solving many employment problems in Laos and promote the development of the tourism industry and facilitate travel to strengthen exchange and cooperation between China and ASEAN, and achieve mutual benefit and win-win results, she said.

Lao-China Railway

Laos China Railway Route.

Proposed in 2013, the Belt and Road Initiative (comprising both the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road) is aimed at building a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road on land and at sea.

To follow the railways’ route, a video has been published which can be viewed on Youtube.

For more specifics on particulars of the project, visit Laotian Times own handy explainer Everything You Need to Know about the Laos-China Railway.


Everything You Need to Know about the Laos-China Railway

laos-china railway

The Laotian Times provides a concise, easy-to-read summary of the Laos-China Railway:

Total length: 414.332 kilometers (over 62 percent consists of bridges and tunnels: 258.5 km – due to mountainous terrain)

Number of total stations: 32 stations along the route

Train Track Specs: single 1.435-metre standard-gauge track electrified mixed-traffic line is to be built to China’s GB Grade 1 standards, suitable for 160-200 km/h passenger and 120 km/h freight trains

Construction Began in: in Luang Prabang on December 25, 2016

Project completion: scheduled for five years (by end of 2021)

Cost of Railway: approximately $5.8 billion; 70 percent of which comes from Chinese investment and 30 percent from the Lao side

ICT Cost of Railway: over $3.67 million; Laos-China Railway Company, Lao Telecom, Lao Asia-Pacific and Huawei are to provide internet and mobile phone services from the Mohan-Boten border gate in northern Laos to Vientiane Capital

Lao Government Guidelines: contractors have been asked to employ Lao technicians and companies and use materials available locally in construction; construction must be of a high standard and completed as scheduled; safety must be guaranteed, must comply with Lao laws, respect local customs and culture and not to impact adversely on villagers; environmental protection is a top priority as well

Benefits for Laos: reduce transport costs, increase people-to-people visits, enhance trade and promote cultural exchanges

Expected Number of Passengers: domestic rail passengers should initially reach 3.98 million per year, according to a study by Lao authorities, and could reach up to 8.62 million passengers per year in the future

Regional Significance: part of the Kunming-Singapore regional railway (covering a total distance of approx. 3,000km) and China’s “One Belt, One Road” initiative; will turn Laos from a landlocked country into one that is land-linked

Current State of Railroads in Laos: the only railway in Laos, at present, is a short metre-gauge branch of the Thai network which crosses the River Mekong from Nong Khai to reach a railhead at Thanaleng

Laos-China Railway