Cross-border passenger service started on China-Laos Railway

Cross-border passenger service started on China-Laos Railway
© China Railway / Xinhua / Xing Guangli

The China-Laos Railway initiated cross-border passenger services on April 13, 2023.

The first passenger train departed from Kunming, the capital of Yunnan Province, China, at 8 a.m. (Beijing Time), heading towards Vientiane, the capital city of Laos. Shortly after, at 9 a.m. (Beijing Time), a train left in the opposite direction, departing from Vientiane to Kunming. One daily connection is provided in both directions. The train travels through mountains and valleys at a maximum speed of 160 km per hour. The route consists of eight stations, spanning over 1,000 km, with a total journey time of ten and a half hours, including customs procedures.

The China-Laos Railway project commenced operations in December 2021, supporting Laos' vision to transform from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub. Passenger train services were initially launched along the section between Kunming and the Chinese border town of Mohan and the section connecting Vientiane and Boten, the border town on the Lao side.

As of mid-April 2023, the China-Laos Railway has handled almost 14 million domestic passenger trips and transported over 18 million tonnes of cargo. China Railway Kunming Group’s 540 employees joined 700 Lao railway workers in the Laos section of this railway.

The railway has emerged as a critical driver in promoting Laos' tourism industry, which is pivotal in strengthening its economy. The Lao tourism authorities expect to welcome approximately 368,000 Chinese travellers to the country in 2023, representing a 21% increase from the previous year.

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