Tag Archives: railway

Residents Await Laos-China Railway Compensation Payments

Preliminary counts have been completed in the provinces through which the Laos-China railway will pass, to pave the way for compensation to be paid to the affected villagers and residents who will be relocated.

However affected residents in the provinces through which the railway will pass, and particularly the owners of parcels of land and buildings that will be used or demolished to make way for the railway, have yet to receive any compensation. Director of the Luang Prabang provincial Public Works and Transport Department, Mr Fasanan Thammavong, told the press in the prefecture that the preliminary surveys for the affected people and counts for compensation payments have already been completed.

The compensation to be paid for property owners in Luang Prabang has still not been approved by the Laos-China railway project’s committee, Mr Fasanan said.

The railway bridge will be part of the planned 427-km Laos-China railway running from the Chinese border to Vientiane through the four provinces of Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane to the capital and linking to the Thai border.

In Luang Prabang province, the railway will run through 29 villages over a length of 80 kilometres taking in the three districts of Chomphet, Luang Prabang and Xiengngeun.

Mr Fasanan added that officials in Luang Prabang will also be examining compensation payments in Oudomxay and Vientiane provinces in order to compare them to ensure that they are equivalent with the other provinces.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith will officially launch the construction of the Laos-China railway project at a ceremony on December 25.

The ceremony to kick off railway construction will take place in Luang Prabang district’s Phonxay village where a railway bridge spanning the Mekong River will be built.

On Sunday, Luang Prabang will be the site of the official launch of the project and provincial authorities intend to seek clarification from the Chinese construction company about where within Luang Prabang they intend to start initial works so that they can meet with affected villagers for mediation.

Luang Prabang has already prepared the parcels of land for relocation for the railway-impacted villages.

Meanwhile in Oudomxay, there are 40 villages in the three districts of Xay, Nga and Namor through which the railway will pass, over a distance of 126 kilometres.

In Luang Namtha, the three villages of Boten, Tinsan and Nateuy are located within the vicinity of the construction site, which runs through the province for only a distance of 16.9 kilometres.

The Laos-China Railway Project is estimated to cost about US$6 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.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Laos-Thailand Railway Link Set for Expansion Next Year

Phase II of the Laos-Thailand railway, which will see the line extended from the suburbs to central Vientiane, is set to resume after the project was suspended in 2011.

The line will be built over a distance of 7.5km to link the track from the outlying Thanalaeng railway station in Hadxaifong district to the inner city, a senior government official in charge of the project said yesterday.

Deputy Director General of the Lao Railway Department, Mr Sonesack N. Nhansana, told Vientiane Times yesterday that the government has instructed authorities to resume construction of the railway in line with the original plan.

The extension will link Thanalaeng railway station on the outskirts of Hadxaifong district near the Mekong River to Khamsavat village in inner Xaysettha district.

Mr Sonesack said the project was previously suspended because Lao authorities wanted to study in detail how the 1-metre standard gauge Laos-Thailand track could be joined to the 1.435-metre standard-gauge track width of the planned Laos-China railway.

The authorities have now agreed that one of the stations planned for Vientiane as part of the 427-km Laos-China railway, which will link Vientiane to the Chinese border, will be built in Thanalaeng village so that the two lines are integrated.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith recently visited Thanalaeng railway station where he was briefed on the progress of the Laos-Thailand rail link.

The prime minister suggested we resume construction in 2017. We expect to do so at the earliest date possible, Mr Sonesack told Vientiane Times .

He said resumption of the project would be possible and financing was available as Thailand had provided more than 203 billion kip (more than 900 million baht), of which 30 percent was in the form of a grant and 70 percent was a low-interest loan.

Once construction resumes, it will take about two years to complete the project, Mr Sonesack said.

There is optimism that once the extension is operational, it will result in a significant increase in passenger numbers and tourist arrivals, said Deputy Head of the Railway Management Division, Mr Khamphet Sisamouth.

He justified the construction of a station in Khamsavat village by saying it was just 4km from the city centre (That Luang) and was 17km shorter than travelling from That Luang to Thanalaeng railway station using the existing road network.

Thanalaeng railway station  the only station on Laos’ 3.5km railway that runs to Thailand’s Nong Khai province – handles 2,500 to 3,000 passengers a month, Mr Khamphet said, adding that more people were using the service these days.

Passengers keep asking why we don’t extend the track into the city centre, he added.

The railway only transports passengers at present, but freight transport is set to be provided in the near future following completion of a container yard.

Work on Phase II of the railway began a few years ago, including construction of a container yard, dormitories for staff, and a rail operations office, as well as improvements to the signals.

More than 173 billion kip (650 million baht) provided by Thailand was spent on this work, of which 30 percent was given as a loan and the remainder was a low-interest loan.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Laos-China Railway: Details of Required Workforce still Unknown

Authorities are still waiting for information on the kind of work to be undertaken by Lao labourers and the number required to help build the railway that will link Vientiane to the Chinese border.

Minister of Labour and Social Welfare, Dr Khampheng Saysompheng, told local media last week that his ministry has not yet been informed about worker numbers and the skills required, despite the fact that construction of the 427-km railway is scheduled to start this month.

He stressed the need for the bodies involved to coordinate with and inform his ministry as soon as possible so that training in the requisite skill sets can be given.

Dr Khampheng said that while the railway has been under discussion for some time, no labour requirements have yet been supplied.

We still don’t know what kinds of skills are needed, he told the media while attending a meeting in Vientiane of the cabinet, Vientiane Mayor and provincial governors, which ended last week.

Labour issues have been a topic of debate since a plan to build the US$6 billion railway was proposed several years ago. Given that Lao workers lack skills in this area, some people have voiced concern that the mega project will not create as many jobs for Lao people as hoped. The matter has been discussed but the details remain unclear.

It was previously stated that more than 50,000 workers would be required to build the railway.

Dr Khampheng said he had suggested that the project should create as many jobs as possible for Lao people.

There is a need for further detailed talks on the labour issue, otherwise foreign workers will be hired [for railway construction], he added.

Given the limited timeframe between now and the start of the project, he said Laos was unlikely to be able to train and prepare highly skilled technicians.

Minister of Public Works and Transport, Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong, said previously that the coordinating committee had been preparing details on labour recruitment and promised that the recruitment plan would ensure that local people would be employed.

A senior official at the Lao Federation of Trade Unions previously expressed concern that local workers could suffer in competing for jobs on the project given that Lao workers have no skills in railway construction. The official, who asked not to be named, said there were no training courses in Laos in this field.

It will probably be inevitable that a large number of foreign workers will be hired once construction starts, he said, adding that the number would likely exceed the quantity of foreign workers permitted by law.

The amended Labour Law, which was passed by the National Assembly in December 2013, allows a workplace or enterprise to employ up to 15 percent of the total workforce on a project as manual labourers.

In addition, a workplace can employ up to 25 percent of its workforce as white-collar professionals.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

Residents Still Unaware of Railway Plans

Many residents have yet to know that a high-speed railway will be built in Laos from the Laos-China border in Luang Namtha province to Vientiane.

The railway worker camps and flags marking the railway land have been erected in the four provinces of Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang and Vientiane.

Deputy Govern  or of Oudomxay province, Mr Somchith Panyasack, told the press that many people still do not know that the railway will be built in Laos.

If they knew that the railway was really happening they would be excited to see high-speed rail in Laos, he said.

However, there are 40 villagers in the province of Oudomxay in the three districts of Xay Nga and Namor where the railway will pass through, which are currently seeking compensation and resettlement.

A railway coordinator in Oudomxay province, Mr Phonpradith Phommachith said last week the railway will pass through the province over a distance of 126 kilometres.

Right now, the relevant authorities are installing markers for the railway and mediating to compensate the families who will have to make way for the railway construction.

A provincial coordinator of the Laos-China project, Mr Chanthachone Keolakhone said the three villages of Boten, Tinsan and Nateuy in Luang Namtha province are located within the vicinity of the construction site.

But the number of families who will have to move is as yet unknown because they are surveying and installing markers on the land that the railway will pass through.

A section of about 16.9 kilometres in length runs through these three villages.

Compensation is to be paid to the owners of parcels of land or buildings in the three villages that will be used or demolished to make way for the Laos-China railway.

Negotiations for compensation are currently underway. All of the affected families have agreed to make way for the construction of the Laos-China railway but say they expect reasonable compensation to move.

Residents in Nateuy village will be moved to make way for the Laos-China project. This will be the second time they have been resettled after firstly making way for the Boten special economic zone at the Boten international checkpoint.

Mr Chanthachone added that people are complaining as they have built nice houses, but they must resettle again.

They will make way for railway construction and the new site will be located along the main road.

Director of the Luang Prabang Public Works and Transport Department, Mr Fasanan Thammavong said the railway through Luang Prabang province covers a length of 80 kilometres taking in the three districts of Chomphet, Luang Prabang and Xiengngeun.

Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith will officially launch the start of construction for the Laos-China railway project at a ceremony on December 25.

The US$6 billion railway, to be built over a distance of 427 km, will be completed by 2021.

 

Source: Vientiane Times

PM to launch railway construction in Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang province: — Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith will officially launch the start of construction for the Laos-China railway project at a ceremony on December 25.

The ceremony to kick off railway construction will take place in Luang Prabang district’s Phonxay village where a railway bridge spanning the Mekong River will be built.

Director of the provincial Public Works and Transport Department Mr Fasanan Thammavong, told the press on Wednesday that the PM has agreed to launch construction on December 25.

Last week Minister of Public Works and Transport Dr Bounchanh Sinthavong, also discussed the matter with relevant officials in the province.

The railway bridge will be part of the planned 427-km Laos-China railway running from the Chinese border to Vientiane and through the four provinces of Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane.

The railway through Luang Prabang province covers a length of 80 kilometres taking in the three districts of Chomphet, Luang Prabang and Xiengngeun.

A Chinese construction company will build the railway bridge across the Mekong and four ports that will be used to handle construction materials. The contractors would have preferred to utilise six river ports, but two locations were not suitable as they are tourism sites. Mr Fasanan added that a Chinese construction company would spend two years building the railway bridge across the Mekong River.

Presently, Luang Namtha and Oudomxay provinces have installed some red markers to set out the railway land, while Vientiane province is constructing the railway worker camps for thousands of labourers.

The Laos-China Railway Project is estimated to cost about US$6 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.

A railway will also be built to connect Khammuan province’s Thakhaek district to the Vietnamese border, from where it will run to a coastal port in Vietnam. Another track will be built from Thakhaek to the Cambodian border.

The Laos-China railway will have a 1.435-metre standard-gauge track with 33 stations, 21 of which will be operational initially.

There will be 72 tunnels with a combined length of 183.9 km, representing 43 percent of the railway’s entire length.

The line will also have 170 bridges totalling 69.2 km in length, accounting for 15.8 percent of the total. Passenger trains will travel at 160 km per hour, while the speed of rail freight will be 120 km per hour.

Source: Vientiane Times

Railway Access Road Construction Begins for Tunnel Drilling Site

A Chinese contractor has recently begun surveying the construction area of an access road to the drilling site for the Laos-China Railway tunnel in Nga district, Oudomxay Province, said a member of the technical staff.

Deputy Head of the Oudomxay Provincial Public Works and Construction Department, Mr Sinouan Khamdy told a KPL News reporter last Friday that the railway will pass through the three districts of Namor, Xay and Nga (40 villages) with a total length of 126.6 km, representing one third of the total length of the rail line. Three main stations and six small stations are to be built in Oudomxay.

This project will be the biggest one ever to be implemented in the province, he said, adding that the majority of the railway construction activities in Oudomxay will be tunnels (40% of the total length of the rail line) and bridges.  The longest tunnel will be 9.3 km in length and will be drilled in Nga District.

The Oudomxay Coordinating Committee for the Management of the Lao-China Railway Construction Project is now conducting a public campaign in affected areas to increase the understand of local people and also to encourage their participation in making the construction project a success, Mr Sinouan said.

The Coordinating Office for the Laos-China Railway Construction Project and seven coordinating committees responsible for the project have also been set up, said Oudomxay Deputy Governor Mr Somchit Phanyasack.

The compensation allowance for families affected by the project in Oudomxay and Luang Namtha has yet to be determined.

The railway is expected to significantly boost transport, both at the provincial and national level.

The cargo transport cost by the Laos-China Railway will be about 100,000 kip per tonne, said Mr Somchit.

More than 5,000 Chinese workers are expected to work on the project.

 

Source: KPL

Laos-China Railway Awaits Landmine Clearance

Luang Namtha province: — Construction of the Laos-China railway in Luang Namtha province has yet to commence as some UXO clearance activities need to be completed before the rail builders can move full steam ahead with the project.

The Ministry of National Defence has reported to the Luang Namtha provincial government that one of three villages in Namor district where the railway will pass through has yet to be cleared of unexploded bombs.

A provincial coordinator of the Laos-China project, Mr Chanthachone Keolakhone, told the press on Wednesday that the three villages of Boten, Tinsan and Nateuy are located within the vicinity of the construction site.

The section in question where UXO may remain is some 16.9 kilometres long.

The Ministry of National Defence reported the mines are in Nateuy village, he said.

The railway bridge is part of the planned 427-km Laos-China railway that will run from the Chinese border to Vientiane through Luang Namtha, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang and Vientiane provinces.

The Chinese construction company completed about 70 percent of the marking of the railway in Luang Namtha before the company suspended the project to clear some landmines in Nateuy village.

The Minister of Public Works and Transport ordered the clearance of unexploded ordnance or UXO in the corridor through which the railway will pass.

Mr Chanthachone added that there are two stations in Luang Namtha but the big station will be in Nateuy village and the smaller one in Boten village, which is situated on the border between Laos and China.

Compensation is to be paid to the owners of parcels of land or buildings in the three villages that will be used or demolished to make way for the Laos-China railway.

Negotiations for compensation are currently underway. All of the affected families have agreed to make way for the construction of the Laos-China railway but say they expect reasonable compensation to move.

The railway project is 70 percent owned by China and 30 percent by Laos.

The US$6 billion railway, to be built over a distance of 427 km, will be completed by 2021.

The railway will use a 1.435-metre standard-gauge track. There will be 33 stations, 21 of which will be operational initially.

There will be 72 tunnels with a total length of 183.9 km, representing 43 percent of the railway’s total length. The line will also have 170 bridges totalling 69.2 km in length, accounting for 15.8 percent of the total.

Passenger trains will travel at 160 km per hour, while the speed of rail freight will be 120 km per hour.

The railway in Laos will link with the track in Thailand to form part of the regional rail link known as the Kunming-Singapore railway, covering a total distance of about 3,000km.

Source: Vientiane Times

Laos-China Railway to Spur Border Zone Development

The Laos-China railway will provide significant momentum for the development of the Boten-Mohan border economic cooperation zone, experts have noted.

The railroad, a key project under China’s Belt and Road initiative, will link the Mohan-Boten border crossing in northern Laos to Vientiane, over a distance of 427 kilometres.

Experts are optimistic that the border economic cooperation zone could become a regional hub for trade, investment and tourism once the almost-US$6 -billion railway is complete.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told his visiting Lao counterpart Thongloun Sisoulith in Beijing last week that China is willing to work with Laos to push forward the development of the railway and economic cooperation zone.

The two premiers witnessed the signing of two cooperative documents on border trade and the economic cooperative zone.

Mr Thongloun said he was committed to building the railway as it was of great importance to Laos in transforming the land-locked country into a land link within the region.

The political commitment by the two countries aims to ensure that the two projects progress as planned.

Located at the Mohan Border Port, which is China’s gateway to Laos and provides access to Southeast Asia’s most convenient land route, the economic zone has significant investment potential.

The Boten Specific Economic Zone is located in Luang Namtha province and is accessible by Road No. R3.

The zone is being developed by two Chinese companies – Yunnan Hai Cheng Industrial Group Stock Co., Ltd. and Hong Kong Fuk Hing Travel Entertainment Group Ltd.

Vice President of the zone’s management board, Mr Vonekham Phetthavong, told Vientiane Times recently that the developers are concentrating on infrastructure development and providing facilities to accommodate the investment and tourism sectors.

We are building two hotels which could be as high as 15 storeys, to accommodate tourists, he said.

About 1,000 tourists visit the zone each month. Our activities include trekking in forests, watching cultural performances and other activities.

The US$500 million project covers 1,640 hectares and comes with a concession period of 99 years.

The Chinese developers will focus on four large-scale projects: a duty free centre, bus station complex, warehousing and a resort featuring a large natural marsh, hotel, meeting hall and leisure areas.

Mr Vonekham said many more investors and visitors will head to northern Laos once the economic cooperation zone in the Boten-Mohan border area is fully operational.

However, so far the project has not progressed as anticipated. As of August this year, only a little over US$50 million had been spent on the Boten Specific Economic Zone by the new Chinese developers.

The China-Laos railway is a vital part of the trans-Asia railway network that will link China with ASEAN nations to boost economic cooperation and people-to-people ties.

Construction is expected to start simultaneously in a number of provinces this month, with the whole railway scheduled for completion over the next five years.

 

Source: Vientiane Times