China-Laos rail link on track to boost trade, tourism
As part of the BRI, China and Laos began work on the rail project in December 2016. The line will link Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, and Vientiane.
With an operating speed of 160 km/h, the multi-billion dollar project will be built to Chinese rail standards.
A large part of Laotian territory comprises mountain ranges, highland areas and plateaus, with rivers winding their way through this terrain.
More than 60 percent of the new line consists of bridges and tunnels, which have posed technical difficulties during the construction work. The Laos-China Railway Co, a joint venture based in Vientiane, is responsible for building and operating the line, which is due to open in December.
Xiao Qianwen, general manager of the company, said the project is proceeding smoothly.
As of New Year's Eve, the main work had been completed, including 75 tunnels, 164 bridges and 180 road bed sections. More than 60 percent of the tracks had also been laid, Xiao told Xinhuanet.