Tag Archives: Laos-China Railway

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.


Officials say Visit Laos-China Year 2019 Likely to Happen

With Visit Laos Year 2018 officially launched, talks of possibly introducing a Visit Laos-China Year 2019 have arose.

A minister has confirmed that Lao officials have discussed with their Chinese counterparts to push forward a plan to jointly introduce Visit Laos-China Year 2019.

The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Prof. Dr Bosengkham Vongdara told the ongoing 4th Ordinary Session of the National Assembly’s 8th Legislature, “The launch of the Visit Laos-China Year 2019 campaign is highly possible.”

Chinese Ambassador to Laos, Wang Wentian, recently stated to Lao and Chinese media that thanks to the country’s long history, stunning scenery and fascinating attractions, combined with sincere and hospitable people who welcome visitors, Laos has a lot to offer foreign tourists.

Laos received an estimated 4.23 million visitors in 2016, and more than 700,000 were Chinese tourists on holiday.

Although Laos and China have both benefited from sound cooperation from tourism in past years, the ambassador highlighted that there was a potential to increase the number of Chinese visitors to Laos. Currently, an estimated 120 million Chinese take vacations abroad each year on average, and are dominating the global tourism market.

“If just one percent of Chinese outbound tourists came to Laos, the country would receive as many as 1.2 million Chinese visitors a year,” Ambassador Wang stated. In light of this potential, the ambassador said he initiated the idea of jointly launching Visit Laos-China Year 2019.

Though the initiative is still in its infancy stages and has yet to be approved, the ambassador remains confident that through the efforts of both sides, the proposal will be welcomed. He also mentioned that his embassy fully supports the concept and would assist in running a publicity campaign in China to promote Lao tourism, particularly during Visit Laos Year 2018.

“The proposed launch of Visit Laos-China Year 2019 is a lead-up to the completion of the Laos-China railway,” he added, referring to the slated completion date of 2021.

Ambassador Wang indicated that a promotion aimed at bringing more Chinese visitors to Laos would be the most effective use of the Laos-China railway.

Source: Asia News Network

Tunnel Boring for Laos-China Railway 68 Percent Completed


Development on the Laos-China railway has gained traction, with 51 of 75 tunnel entrances successfully bored. The railway is scheduled to be officially operational in December 2021, with tunnels making up 197.83 km of  the 414.332 km rail line linking Vientiane with the Chinese border.

The US$5.8 billion project began in December of last year, with six Chinese contractors carrying out construction of the 1.435-meter single-track railway, with pressure to finish on schedule.

The project coordinator for Luang Namtha province,  Mr Chanthachone Keolakhone, confirmed that all three tunnels in northern Luang Namtha province were being bored with the Boten Tunnel, and have progressed at more than 50 meters.

As previously reported and closely followed by The Laotian Times, as many as 75 tunnels totaling 197.83 km and 167 bridges of 61.81 km will be built along the 414.332 km rail line, linking Vientiane with the Chinese border. The electricity-powered passenger train is designed to run at 160 km per hour and 120 km per hour for freight.

Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport and Chairman of the Laos-China Railway Project Management Committee, Mr Lattanamany Khounnivong, explained that the Lao People’s Revolutionary Party’s central committee and the government perceives the railway to be the most efficient transport mode in the context of landlocked Laos.

He stated that rail transport is cheaper, safer and reduces travel time with less impact on the environment. The Party and government has prioritized railway development as an essential solution in transforming Laos from a landlocked country into a land-linked country.

“The opportunity is the implementation of the One Belt One Road Initiative,” stated the deputy minister, referring to the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative of which the Laos-China railway is a crucial part.

Governments from both countries endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the project development on April 7, 2010. Both sides then proposed on project details which included performing an economic feasibility study, design and investment models that resulted with China contributing 70 percent of the funding, and Laos investing in the remainder.

Once the project is completed and operational, the railway is anticipated to significantly boost trade, investments, tourism and assist in creating employment opportunities for locals, resulting in better livelihoods and alleviating poverty for the Lao economy.

The deputy minister urged for local villagers, especially those living along the rail route, to offer full support and cooperation to the project’s implementation.

Laos; a Key Part in the Grand Scheme of Things

belt and road

The “One Belt, One Road” initiative is a crucial part of China’s development strategy to deepen economic cooperation with countries in Asia, Europe and Africa.

The Belt and Road Initiative was initially proposed by China in 2013, and refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, focusing on developing a trade and infrastructure network that connects Asia with Europe and Africa, along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.

Vice Minister of Public Works and Transport, Lattanamany Khounnyvong, states that the initiative commonly seeks the development of the countries along the Belt and Road with the goal of  “joining hands towards prosperity.”

Highlighting the country’s in-depth involvement in the initiative, Mr Lattanmany explained that the China-Laos railway, which began construction on Dec. 25, 2016, has been cited as the most significant project in the Eighth National Socio-Economic Development Plan 2016-2020 of Laos.

“As this is the No. 1 project of Laos, it is necessary to implement national policies well, promote socio-economic development, support the mission of poverty eradication along the railway route and help increase the incomes of local residents,” he stated.

According to the Vice Minister, Laos has been earnestly collaborating with Chinese contractors to assist local villagers, supporting infrastructure construction of roads, schools and healthcare services running along the railway.

It was also added by Mr Lattanamny that, “once completed, the railway will help facilitate people-to-people exchanges, reduce travel time and costs. The railway will also help promote agricultural production in Laos, increase income, attract more foreign investment and provide more employment opportunities.”

It is speculated that when the high-speed railway has reached completion and is fully functional in Laos, Lao people can offer services along the route, creating job opportunities for local people. Laos can also benefit from freight charges and people commuting via railway.

According to the Vice Minister of Public Works and Transport, this project will be crucial  in assisting Lao people escape poverty and raise living standards significantly, also citing that the construction of the China-Laos railway will help train high-tech personnel from Laos and provide valuable experience for the country in railway construction.

As previously reported by The Laotian Times, the China-Laos railway will run a total length of 414 km, with over 62.7 percent of bridges and tunnels, linking the Mohan-Boten border gate in northern Laos and the capital city of Vientiane.

Construction of the railway is scheduled to be completed within five years, and will cost an estimated 5.8 billion U.S. dollars to fabricate; 70 percent of which will be covered by Chinese investors, and the rest covered by Laos.

The China-Laos railway is the first overseas route connecting with the railway system in China, using Chinese technology, equipment and investment.

Lao Minister of Energy and Mines, Khammany Inthirath, added that the Belt and Road initiative is a significant and indispensable way to deepen cooperation between Laos and China in a plethora of fields such as investments, industrial production, trade, finance, culture, social integration policy and infrastructure.

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

Army Stationed to Remove UXO for Laos-China Railway

Laos-China Railway Uxo Clearance

Soldiers from the Lao People’s Army have been deployed to clear unexploded ordnance (UXO) along the route earmarked for the Laos-China railway so that construction of the track can begin.

An official ceremony to launch the deployment of the UXO clearance teams took place on Wednesday at the Ministry of National Defence.

Minister of National Defence, Lieutenant General Chansamone Chanyalath, Minister of Public Works and Transport, Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong, and other officials attended the ceremony.

The UXO dropped during the Indochina war remains a contaminant in provinces across Laos including along the planned railway, which will connect Vientiane with the Chinese border.

The deployment ceremony came after an official ceremony was held last month in Luang Prabang province to launch the construction of the US$5.8 billion railway.

Deputy Chief of the General Staff Department, Brigadier General Khamlieng Outhakaisone, who is head of the committee in charge of UXO clearance, told ceremony participants that six clearance units have been assigned to clear UXO in six segments of the 417km rail track. UXO detectors, vehicles and other equipment have been prepared to carry out the work.

Speaking at the ceremony, Lieutenant General Chansamone called for the soldiers to work their hardest to fulfill the tasks they are assigned to ensure the safety of the project and enable construction to be completed in line with the set time frame.

It will take five years to complete the project, meaning that the railway is set to be fully complete by the end of 2021 following the launch of construction last month.

Six Chinese contractors are carrying out construction in the six segments along the entire track, which comprises 167 bridges with a total length of 61.81km, 75 tunnels with a combined length of 197.83km, and 32 stations including 21 stations where two trains can pass.

Ground works have begun for the construction of the rail track that will run through the provinces of Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang and Vientiane, linking to the nation’s capital.

In Luang Namtha alone, more than 1,000 Lao and Chinese workers have been stationed and are carrying out work there, according to provincial authorities in charge of project coordination.

Some 70 percent of the project’s total investment cost is financed by China, while Laos will be responsible for the remainder.

The trains are designed to travel at a speed of 160km per hour in mountainous areas and 200km per hour in flat land areas, while freight trains will be limited to 120km an hour.


Source: Vientiane Times

Full Steam Ahead for Laos-China Railway

laos-china railway

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.