China-Laos railway to launch Friday, using Chinese standards
Published: Dec 02, 2021 05:48 PM
Aerial photo taken on July 29, 2020 shows the China-Laos railway over the villages and fields in northern Laos. The world was a very different place five years ago when work began on the China-Laos railway. Much has changed since then, in almost every walk of life. But five years on, with completion of the railroad just weeks away, the natural environment along the route remains as verdant and lush as it was before the earthmovers arrived. Photo: Xinhua

Aerial photo taken on July 29, 2020 shows the China-Laos railway over the villages and fields in northern Laos. Photo: Xinhua

The China-Laos Railway, which is set to launch on Friday and connect Kunming city of Yunnan Province and Laos' capital city Vientiane, will adopt entirely Chinese standards, China Railway said, noting that the Friday launch marks a significant moment for Laos to enter the era of fast rail transportation. 

As a landmark project of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and China-Laos friendship, the China-Laos Railway will provide strong support for accelerating the completion of the China-Laos Economic Corridor and building a China-Laos community with a shared future, said the company in a statement sent to the Global Times on Thursday.

Ticket sales for the Yuxi-Mohan section of the railway started at 11 am on Thursday, data from China Railway Kunming Group showed. Top leaders of China and Laos will meet via video link on Friday and jointly witness the launch of the China-Laos Railway.

The railway has 11 stations in the Chinese section and 10 in the 409-kilometer Laos section. With a designed speed of 160 kilometers per hour, the railway will shorten travel between Vientiane and the China-Laos border from two days to just three hours, and the trip from Vientiane to Kunming can be done overnight, according to the Xinhua News Agency.

Experts said that the operation of the long-awaited railway should be a significant boost not only to Laos' economy by enhancing its tourism and trade with China, but also to the economy of the entire Lancang-Mekong region, which includes Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and Thailand, by securing an important transport junction in the region.

Before the opening of the railway, the two sides made careful preparations and installed monitoring and early warning systems for rain, wind to prevent disasters, read the statement. 

More than 1,100 operation management and equipment maintenance personnel were selected, including more than 500 Chinese employees and more than 600 Lao employees, all of whom have undergone strict training and examinations, China Railway said.

The China-Laos Railway "connects hearts" and promotes development. Its official opening on Friday will mean that the transportation artery that carries the development dreams of the Lao people and China-Laos friendship will become a reality, Chinese Ambassador to Laos Jiang Zaidong said in a signed article published in the People's Daily on Thursday.

The China-Laos railway is not only a key project of China-Laos cooperation, but also a key hub of the regional road network, Jiang said.

Jiang noted that in the next stage, relevant parties will study and initiate the construction of the China-Laos-Thailand rail line, which will be connected to the Malaysia-Singapore railway network in the south, as well as the China-Europe train system in the north. 

Global Times