Source: Vientiane Times
A large number of people turned up at the rail station in Vientiane on Saturday after the Laos-China railway officially opened for service on Friday.
An official with the Laos-China Railway Company Limited told Vientiane Times that a long queue formed at the station after crowds of people arrived hoping to get a seat on the very first journey on the railway, which left Vientiane at 7:40am.
All of the seats on the journey to Vangvieng, Luang Prabang and Boten were fully booked, she said.
There is huge interest in taking a ride on the train and sampling the novel experience of travelling rapidly through the Lao countryside on an elevated track.
The railway is a gift to the Lao people from the government of China and its inauguration coincided with the 46th anniversary of the Lao PDR and the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Laos-China diplomatic relations.
To begin with, tickets will be on sale at railway stations only and will not be available for purchase online.
For the time being, journeys will be limited to destinations within Laos because of the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak and the associated travel restrictions.
Tickets can be purchased three days before the date of departure and passengers must show an ID card and proof of two Covid vaccinations.
The opening of the 426-km railway is a milestone for Laos and should be a game changer as the country strives to become an integral part of regional supply chains and integrate itself economically with the rest of the world.
Built according to Chinese technical standards, the railroad connects Vientiane with Kunming in China over a distance of 1,035 kilometres. Trains can travel at a top speed of 160 kilometres per hour.
This means the journey time between Vientiane and Kunming is just 10 hours, including the time taken for customs clearance.