Electrical cabling used to power the Laos-China railway was found cut in Xay district, Oudomxay province, last week when Laos-China Railway Co Ltd began inspections of the railway.

The company reported that on the morning of October 23 staff found that cables had been cut in eight places over a distance of 350m. This was the fifth time such an incident had occurred at this location.

If this happens again, it will not only affect the whole technical inspection of the railway and possibly the start of railway operations in December, but also the safety of the train and everyone using the railway, the company warned.

Company managers urge everyone to consider themselves co-owners of the railway and work together to ensure its safety and maintenance. If anyone is seen cutting cables, stealing parts from or otherwise damaging the railway, members of the public are requested to notify the nearest authorities as soon as possible.

The company has told the army and police that if the perpetrators are caught, they ought to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

The firm also reported that a man died last week when he was electrocuted while cutting cables on a section of the railway in Naxaithong district, Vientiane. It has warned people living along the railway to comply with strict safety regulations to ensure the safe operation of train services.

The company has spelled out the rules on safety in detail, saying rail safety will be a priority for the people of Laos and China when the railway comes into service on December 2.

High-voltage power cables have been installed along the length of the railway and are currently being tested. This means that all the cables and equipment connected to the railway is electrified.

The overhead transmission line has a voltage of up to 27.5kV which is extremely dangerous and could lead to immediate death if touched for just three or four seconds.

The company has warned everyone to be careful and not to approach the railway within a distance of 2m.

The destruction of railway equipment and materials not only endangers the safety of the railway, but can also lead to life-threatening electrical shocks, the firm warned.