Placing the China-Laos railway line in operation (According to the information agency “Xinhua” and the magazine “World Railways”)


On 3 December 2021, two trains departed from China and Laos to meet each other, therefore marking the official commissioning of the China-Laos railway line that runs in the terrain being rich of mountains, rivers and other natural obstacles. The opening of the railway line was timed to coincide with the 46th anniversary of the foundation of The Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

The first Green Giant multiple-unit train, a new model of the Fuxing series with a design speed of 160 km / h, departed from Kunming station (the administrative center in Yunnan province in southwestern China), and the second one that is the Lansang electric train designed in particular for operation on the China-Laos railway departed from the Laos’ capital Vientiane.

The length of the railway section from the Boten border station on the Chinese-Laotian border to the capital of Laos, Vientiane, is about 420 km, and the total length of the Kunming-Vientiane line amounts to 1,035 km. The construction of the line was implemented on the basis of Chinese technologies and technical standards. In total, 167 tunnels were constructed along the route of the railway line, and a great number of bridges and viaducts were built.

The railway line comprises two sections. Construction of the Laotian section from the border town of Boten to Vientiane began in December 2016, and the construction of the Chinese section from Yuxi to the border town of Mohan was launched in December 2015.

With a maximum operating speed of 160 km per hour, the entire journey along with the Customs clearance takes about 10 hours. Both passengers and goods will be transported along the route. The commissioning of the new railway line will make it possible to attract a significant part of export goods by rail transport and reduce transport costs in comparison with freight delivery by road transport by 30-40%. According to preliminary calculations, at the initial stage, 300 thousand containers will be transported annually along the new railway line from Laos to Europe via China, and in future freight traffic may increase up to 1.2 - 1.8 million containers per year.

The China-Laos railway line is one of the key projects of China’s Belt and Road Initiative and Laos’ strategy to transform the landlocked country into a transport hub with sustainable regional connectivity. The China-Laos railway line is of great current relevance for the bilateral socio-economic and cultural exchange and regional integration. As an important link in the Trans-Asian Railway Network, it will play a significant role both in strengthening economic ties between China and the ASEAN countries and in deepening economic cooperation in the Greater Mekong Sub-region.