Laos, Thailand To Expand Railway Into Lao Capital

VIENTIANE, Laos, July 2 (NNN-KPL) Laos and Thailand have agreed to start Phase II of the construction of the Laos-Thailand railway, which will link the existing suburban station to central Vientiane, local daily Vientiane Times reported today (Tuesday).

The MoU was signed by the Director General of the Lao Department of Railways, Sengthavisay Malivanh, and the Project Manager of Sermsanguan Construction, Pongsak Roopkaew, and witnessed by Lao Minister of Public Works and Transport, Bounchanh Sinthavong.

Under the agreement, Sermsanguan Construction will take 27 months to complete the work.

Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, Project Manager for the Laos-Thailand railway Phase II, Hinphet Lakhonevong, said that, the project is financed by a loan from Thailand's Neighbouring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency (NEDA).

Thailand provided more than 994 million baht (about 32 million U.S. dollars), of which 30 percent is in the form of a grant and 70 percent is a low-interest loan. Laos currently has only 3.5 km of railway linking the capital to Thailand's Nong Khai province, via the Laos-Thailand Friendship Bridge. When the expansion is complete, the track will be 11 km long.

Authorities said, when the railway project is finished and operational, it will result in a significant increase in passenger numbers and tourist arrivals. The railway will provide a shorter route into central Vientiane than travelling by road.

The Railway Management Division said, work on Phase II of the railway also includes construction of a container yard, dormitories for staff, and a rail operations office, as well as, improvements to signals.NNN-KPL

Source: NAM News Network