By Vientiane Times/ANN
A groundbreaking ceremony was held in Xay village, Xaythany district on July 3 for the first station of the megaproject in capital with General Manager of the Laos-China Railway Co Ltd (LCRC), Mr Xiao Qianwen; Director of Laos-China Railway Project Management, Mr Chantoula Phanalasy, and representatives from both nations in attendance.
uring the event, Mr Xiao said the Laos-China railway is a cooperation project between the high-level leaders of the two countries and a symbol of the friendship between Laos and China.
“The project is progressing well, and the rail infrastructure is about 90 percent complete,” Mr Xiao said. He also advised the workers to pay attention to construction to achieve the target of the 2021 launch.
Mr Chantoula said the 414 km-railway runs from the Laos-China border in Luang Namtha via the provinces of Oudomxay, Luang Prabang, and Vientiane to the capital of Vientiane with 11 passenger and freight stations. It is set to open on December 2, 2021.
“Vientiane will be the main passenger station of the Laos-China railway covering a 150-hectare site. The station will link to the freight station at Thanalaeng and other rail lines in the future,” he said.
According to the original plan, construction of the US$5.986-billion megaproject was set to be completed by 2021.
The Laos-China Railway Company recently also started a Chinese language training programme in Vientiane for the first group of Lao nationals in preparation for the launch of its operations.
The company has selected 248 locals for training who will be instructed in Chinese language and railway theory. After completing their lessons in Laos, they will attend practical training in Kunming, Yunnan province, China.
They will train as engine drivers, mechanics, train operators and supervisors of railway maintenance.
The Lao and Chinese governments attach great importance to the railway, which is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative to build a global trade network.
The Laos-China railway project is part of the regional rail link connecting China’s Kunming to Singapore via Laos, Thailand and Malaysia.
The Lao government hopes the railway will transform the landlocked country into a land-link within the region. The business sector expects the railway will help to significantly lower transportation costs and enable them to become more competitive.