Lao NEWS on LNTV: Vientiane-China railway could be built sooner than planned.4/1/2016

VO Official says the Vientiane-China railway could be built sooner than planned
INTRO: The Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport has said that, much has been done to move construction of the Vientiane-China railway forward following the groundbreaking ceremony that took place last month,
STORY: Deputy Minister of Public Works and Transport Lattanamany Khounnivong told local media last week during an interview with Lao National Television (LNTV) that construction could take just over four years, slightly less than the original estimation of five years. He said that construction could take just over four years, slightly less than the original estimation of five years and the developers were keen to plough ahead with the 38.7 billion yuan (US.04 billion) project.
The deputy minister said the groundbreaking was not merely a ceremonial event held to mark National Day on December 2, with no work having been done since, as many people have said.
The groundbreaking signified the actual start of construction of the 427-km railway, with a number of activities having been undertaken since then. Mr Lattanamany said financing had been sought to enable the Lao and Chinese governments to establish a joint venture company to carry out the project.
China will provide 70 percent of the investment cost, while Laos is responsible for the remainder. The two governments will each contribute 40 percent of their financial obligation to set up the joint venture company. The company will source the remaining funds from financial backers.
The Lao government has obtained a loan of about US0 million from China to pay its share of the investment cost.
The deputy minister said the route to be taken by the railway had been mapped out. The authorities were now gathering information about the property that would be affected so they could assess the amount of compensation that had to be paid. Adding that, People affected by the project would be compensated appropriately
Fifty metres of land along each side of the railway will be kept free and fenced off for safety reasons. The largest station, in Vientiane, will require 1.5 million square metres of land, while the smallest station on the route will require about 400,000 square metres.
Laos fully supports the building of a railway in a bid to free itself from the constraints of being landlocked, hoping to create a land link and become a transit hub within the region.
The railway will lower transport costs and is expected to benefit the economy by attracting more foreign investment and providing much improved logistics services.
Set to run at 160km per hour, the passenger train will be able to travel from Vientiane to the Chinese border in about three hours, much shorter than the more than 24 hours it takes to make the journey by road.
Freight trains will run at 120km per hour.
Passenger trains can travel at speeds of up to 200 kilometres per hour on flat terrain between Vangvieng and Vientiane.
There will be 11 passenger stations. Two will be built in the Boten and Nateuy areas of Luang Namtha province. Three stations will be built in Oudomxay’s Namor, Xay and Nga districts.
Two stations will be built in Luang Prabang and Xieng-ngeun districts in Luang Prabang province. Three will be constructed in Kasy, Vangvieng and Phonhong districts in Vientiane province and the main station will be in Vientiane.