Lao PDR rail project makes progress

VIENTIANE, 11 January 2018: Work on the China-Laos Railway project is around 16% complete officials told the Laotian Times Monday.

The China-Laos Railway Project will connect with China’s rail tracks at Bohan-Boten the (Laos-China border) and extend to the Lao PDR capital, Vientiane, and from there a  line financed by Thailand and Laos will connect with the Thai rail network in Nong Khai.

Based on the current data that confirms completed work has been estimated at 16.4%, the line should be ready for commercial use by the end of 2021.

Laotian Times reported that contractors have drilled 53 tunnels passing through mountains, 36 bridges with a total length of 54,000 metres and cleared land for building road access to the track sites.

Construction companies have installed transmission lines over 400 km in length, installed 233 transformers and built a water supply system covering 93km.

The China Railway No 2 Engineering Group. a sub-contractor allocated the section of railway construction running 65.7 km from Phonhol district, Vientiane province to Vientiane city, will construct  the track, 17 bridges and four stations.

The Laos-China Railway, stretching  approximately 417 km, end-to-end, will feature a single 1.435-metre standard-gauge track, electrified mixed-traffic line built to meet China’s GB Grade 1 standards and suitable for trains travelling up to speeds of 160 kp for passenger trains and 120 kph for freight trains.

The line will have 10 stations on the run through Laos with Luang Namtha an important station as it could offer a quicker more convenient transfer to Luang Prabang for tourists visiting far North Thailand than by bus or river.

Travellers would need to  travel  168 km by road to Luang Namtha from the Thai border town of Chiang Khong and then  board the train to Luang Prabang reducing the travel time by half or more. The trip takes more than 12 hours by river from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang, or 18 hours by bus (Chiang Rai to Luang Prabang via Luang Namtha).

The  rail project will cost USD6 billion, with China’s providing the bulk of the funds through investment grants and loans.

(Source: KPL)