Trains to arrive next month for trial run of mammoth Laos-China railway project
The Laos-China railway project will bring in locomotives, electric multiple unit (EMU) trains and other equipment to conduct the first trial run of the railway in October.
The plan was presented at the 10th Laos-China Railway Project Steering Committee Meeting held in Vientiane on Wednesday (Aug 12), attended by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Planning and Investment Dr Sonexay Siphandone.
Officials in charge of the project said the project management committee is drafting a memorandum relating to the opening of temporary railway checkpoints so that locomotives, EMU trains and other equipment can be brought into Laos in September in preparation for the trial run.
As of July 25, construction of the Laos-China railway from the Boten border crossing in northern Laos, bordering China, to Thanalaeng in Vientiane was 93.82 per cent complete.
It is expected that the railway will be finished according to plan and will open for public use on Dec 2.
From July 26-30, a technical team from the Department of Railways, Project Management Committee, Border Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Laos-China Railway Company carried out an inspection and on Aug 16 will inspect the Chinese side of the railway to determine the connection points to be completed this month.
The inspection committee will carry out further checks from Oct 21 to Nov 19, involving committee members, all technical staff under the steering committee, the Prime Minister’s Office, and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
The areas through which the railway runs will be inspected, while other groups will conduct readiness checks before the opening of the railway on Dec 2.
A Railway Law was promulgated in 2019 and a decree on the authority of the railway signed on July 16, 2021. The decree is derived from the Railway Regulation Act, which covers railway police and railway inspectors.
The Department of Railways and the Department of Railway Police have drawn up a draft agreement on the movements of authorities inspecting the railway and railway police, which is expected to be promulgated in September.
The agreement will ensure security on trains and at railway stations.
The railway, which connects Vientiane to the Chinese border, traverses the provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha and passes through 75 tunnels with a combined length of 197.83km.
Construction of the US$5.986 billion (37.4 billion yuan) railway began in December 2016.
The Laos-China railway is a strategic part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the Lao government’s plan to transform Laos from a landlocked country into a land link within the region. – Vientiane Times/Asia News Network