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China-Laos railway project set to be complete by late 2021

By Wu Chengliang (People's Daily Online)    16:53, November 15, 2017

Construction of the China-Laos railway, one of the key cooperation projects between the two sides, is underway and the line will go into operation by the end of December 2021.

The construction site of Vientiane Northern Station (People's Daily Online/Wu Chengliang)

The 414-kilometer railway will link Boten, the northern Lao town bordering southwest China’s Yunnan Province, and Vientiane, capital of Laos. According to plan, the China-Laos railway will be extended in the south to link Bangkok, capital of Thailand. And it will connect to Chinese railway network. It is also part of the Trans-Asian Railway, a project designed as an integrated railway network across Europe and Asia.

The project will play an exemplary role in the Belt and Road Initiative and will showcase the enhanced connectivity among China and Southeast Asian countries.

The construction site of Vientiane Northern Station (People's Daily Online/Wu Chengliang)

Both China and Laos agreed to step up efforts to construct a slew of key projects including the China-Laos railway, according to a joint statement issued by the two sides during Chinese President Xi Jinping’ s state visit to Laos from Nov. 13-14.

Before construction of the railway, there was only a 3.5-kilometer-long railway in Laos that connecting Nong Khai, Thailand, to Thanaleng outside Vientiane, the capital of Laos, while the China-Laos railway project will change the situation, said a Laotian official, which will help turn Laos from a “Land-locked country” to a “Land-linked country.” The official added that the railway will greatly improve the country’s transport capacity and promote economic and social development.

A rail bridge under construction (People's Daily Online/Wu Chengliang)

As Laos consists mostly of rugged mountains, its 62-km of bridges and 198-km of tunnels consist of 63 percent of the total length of the project, which made construction work difficult.

However, since construction of the railway started, the Chinese and Laotian construction team has overcome lots of difficulties, which is of great significance, according to the project manager of China Railway Corporation.

A rail bridge under construction (People's Daily Online/Wu Chengliang)

The China-Laos railway on map (People's Daily Online/Wu Chengliang)

A railway station in Laos (People's Daily Online/Wu Chengliang)

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(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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