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Laos-China train makes trial trip

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A train operated by Laos-China Railway Co makes a test run from Lao capital Vientiane to the Chinese border. SUPPLIED

Laos-China train makes trial trip

Laos-China Railway Co has carried out a test run of the first electrically-powered train to use the railway, which travelled from Xaythany district in Vientiane to the Chinese border in Boten last weekend.

The trial run took place ahead of the official start of railway operations next month.

A company official told Vientiane Times on November 9 that a technical inspection of the 422.4km railway took place last month and the first test runs of the train are now underway.

Government officials will board the train for a test run on November 17.

The EMU CR200J train has been painted red, blue and white to reflect the colours of the Lao flag and can run at speeds of up to 160km/h.

It has nine carriages including a locomotive, a dining coach, a first-class and six second-class coaches, providing 720 seats in total.

The Laos-China Railway is a project that combines China’s Belt and Road Initiative with Laos’ ambition to use its landlocked status to become a land link. The railway runs south from Kunming in Yunnan province, China, to Vientiane.

The Lao section of the railway has been built according to Chinese administrative and technical standards.

Freight and passenger trains will run on the electrically-powered rail line, which is scheduled to open on December 2. It is expected that the railway will cut the cost of transport through Laos by 30-40 per cent compared to travel by road, thus giving a boost to trade and investment.

The railway runs from through the provinces of Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Oudomxay and Luang Namtha, passing through 75 tunnels.

There are 10 passenger stations in Vientiane, Phonhong, Vangvieng, Kasy, Luang Prabang, Nga, Xay, Namor, Nateuy and Boten. There are also 22 stations for the loading and unloading of freight.

VIENTIANE TIMES/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

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