Tag Archives: 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.


Lao-Thai Railway to Begin Phase II (Thanalaeng to Khamsavath)

Lao Thai Railway Extension

The Lao-Thai Railway Construction Project, Phase II (Section II), which will run 7.5km from Thanalaeng Station in Hadxayfong District, to Vientiane Station in Khamsavath Village, Saysettha District, is to go ahead after a consulting company has been chosen to oversee the project.

A ceremony was held in Vientiane on Tuesday for the signing of a contract between Director General of the Railway Department, Mr Sengthavixay Malivanhon, and Chief Executive Adviser of the ASEAN Engineering Consultant Corp (AEC), Dr Sobchoke Srisakorn.

The ceremony was attended by the Lao Minister for Public Works and Transport, Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong, government officials from both Laos and Thailand, the Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA) of Thailand, the Lao-Thai Railway Project, and guests from the Lao-China Railway Project.

Construction of the next phase of the railway must be completed within 46 months. It is valued at about 235.6 billion kip.

The first phase of the railway project commenced in 2013 and was completed in 2015, officially opening in March 2017. It has seen trains run from Thanalaeng Station in Laos across the border to Thailand.

Source: Lao Post

Laos-China Ties Flourish

With 70 percent of Beerlao’s exports going to China, it is evident that Laos and China have bolstered ties all across the board.

In 2011, Beerlao began exporting to China and was the first sponsor of the China-ASEAN Expo in 2012. The manager of the overseas department of Beerlao, Phengrattanavong Khomsone stated that it took just four short years for Beerlao to become a household name in China. China is now the company’s largest overseas market.

China currently is the largest investor in Laos and the country’s second largest trading partner. From January to September, bilateral trades reached 210 million U.S. dollars, an increase of 25.1 percent year-on-year.  China has heavily invested in everything from hydropower to minerals to garment trade in Laos in recent years.

The China-Laos railway, currently under construction, will further increase cultural and commercial exchange between the two countries. For instance, Lao agricultural produce such as organic rice, coffee and bananas have gained recognition and traction amongst Chinese consumers.

A source from the  Lao Academy of Social Science has stated, “It takes at least a day to transport farm produce to China, but when the railways opens, it will only take four hours.” The source added that infrastructure cooperation in railways, roads and power generation is lifting China-Laos ties to a new level.

In 2015, China helped Laos launch its first communications satellite, which has significantly improved the quality of radio and television broadcasts in the country. Countless Chinese television programs that have been translated into Lao have been aired, with the two countries now currently working together to translate classic Chinese cartoons.

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

Kasy Town to Be Relocated due to Railway Construction

Laos-China Railway

The urban centre of Kasy district in Vientiane province will be relocated to an area near the Kasy road to allow for construction of the Laos-China railway.

A plot of flat land located in the Kasy road area has been allocated, requiring the relocation of about 400 houses and government offices that currently line Road 13 North.

Director of the provincial Public Works and Transport Department, Mr Soumountha Somchanmavong, told journalists on Friday that dirt roads have already been built in the area where the town will be relocated.

About 400 buildings will require demolition as the railway will pass through the town, and a 100-metre section of land will be cordoned off along either side of the railway line.

“We have suggested that a 50-metre section of land bordering either side of the railway be fenced off but we don’t know if the railway management will allow this,” Mr Soumountha said.

If railway officials accept the 50 metre measurement, not all of the 400 properties will have to move.

One potential positive aspect of the relocation of Kasy district’s urban center is a solution to traffic congestion and other developmental issues. The town’s current setting is unsuited to socio-economic development, officials say.

The present location does not meet the regulations set by the government and the town’s layout is the cause of traffic congestion in the area.

Staff working in the Kasy District Administration Office say they are often interrupted by noise from outside, adding that a lot of this noise comes from the market and bus station, which are located next to the office.

A bridge over the Mekong River in Luang Prabang province will be part of the planned 417-km railway running from the Chinese border to Vientiane through the provinces of Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane.

The railway is estimated to cost US$5.8 billion and will run from the border area of Boten in Luang Namtha province to Vientiane. It is scheduled for completion in 2021 and is 70 percent owned by China and 30 percent by Laos.

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.