Construction work for the railway from Chinas border in Boten to Vientiane, the capital city of Laos, has started. Tunnel boring is underway at Luang Namtha as well as near Luang Prabang, where China Railway No.8 Engineering Group is working. And there are reports from a construction site in Phonhong near Vientiane, where China Railway No. 2 Group Co., Ltd is responsible for the construction of Muang Phonhong station. Here we show the maps of the route of this railway that have been published so far.
Line from border between Laos and China at Boten (Map 1)
Detail of Line at Boten (Map2)
Line west of Oudomsay airport (Map 4)
Line south of Oudomsay (Map 5)
Line near Luang Prabang (Map 6)
Line south of Luang Prabang< (Map 7)br>
The line crosses N13 north of Nam Ngum Lake, south of Vang Vieng (Map 8)
The line follows N13 west of Nam Ngum Lake (Map 9)
North of Vientiane the line follows N13 national road (Map 10)
The line crosses the Mekong and the border to Thailand at Nong Khai, Vientiane and its airport at the left (Map 11)
Soure of the maps: 新建铁路磨丁至万象线线路平 Boten Vientiane Railway Line
See also this map by designforconservation.org
Planned is an electrified single track (standard track gauge) with a distance of 427,7 km. There will be 162 bridges with a total distance of 68.093 km, 72 tunnels with the distance of 183.978 km. Maximum speed for cargo will be 120 kph, maximum speed for passenger trains from Boten to Vang Vieng will be 160 kph, from Vang Vieng to Vientiane capital 200 kph. 33 stations are planned, but first only 21 stations will be built. These will allow trains passing each other. 11 stations will offer passenger services.
Two major bridges are planned in Luang Prabang area:
Mekhong 1 Bridge (其中湄公河1号特大桥) North of Luang Prabang (1220 meters)
Mekhong 2 Bridge (湄公河2号特大桥桥长) South of Luang Prabang (1436 meters)
Luang Prabang station will be on Xiang Maen bank, not Luang Phrabang bank, to avoid a conflict with the protection of the old city of Luang Prabng by Unesco World Heritage. It will allow the connection with Xayabouri and Thailand via Muang Ngoen and Phoo Doo along with Xanakham.
7 major tunnels are planned:
Lao - China Friendship tunnel (友谊隧道, 9,592 meters, 2430 meter on Lao side of border while the rest on Chinese side.
Kong Lang tunnel (空琅村隧道, 8150 meter)
Wa Nu Mountain (努瓦山隧道, 8185 meter)
Phu Kluea (福格村隧道, 8880 meter)
Ka (卡村隧道, 8005 meter)
Sen tunnel (森村隧道, 9405 meter)
La Meng tunnel (拉孟山隧道, 8055 meter)
Planned railway stations:
Boten (Luang Namtha Province)
Ban Natuay ບ້ານນາທົ່ງ cargo loading station (Luang Namtha Province)
Muang Xai ເມືອງໄຊ (Oudomxay)
Luang Prabang ຫລວງພຣະບາງ
Vang Vieng ວັງວຽງ
Muang Phonhong (Vientiane Province)
Ban Saka ສະຂ່າ
Ban Phonsoung ໂພນສູງ
Vieng Chan Neua (Vientiane) ວຽງຈັນເຫນືອ
According to the plan, there will be 11 stations for passenger use. 3 will be built in Oudomxay's Namor, Xay and Nga districts. 2 more stations will be built in Luang Prabang and Xieng-ngeun districts in Luang Prabang province. 3 will be constructed in Kasy, Vangvieng and Phonhong districts in Vientiane province and the main station will be in Vientiane. A goods transport depot will also be built in Vientiane.
More details here.
The total project cost is estimated at 38.7 billion yuan (over USD 6 billion), which is about 90.6 million yuan (approx. USD 14 million) per kilometre. The Lao government has obtained a loan of about USD 480 million from China to pay its share of the investment cost. Somsavat Lengsavad, Laotian deputy prime minister, said the Chinese government has earlier offered Laos a loan with a three-percent interest rate, adding that Laotian government also asked the Chinese government to reduce the rate. He did not mention what the agreed-upon interest rate was. Laos will back the loan with five of its potash mines. Somsavat said after calculation, Laos has determined that it will be able to pay it back to China within five years instead of 30 years as Laos has five mines.
Construction contracts were awarded as follows:
1. Boten - Meuang Xay (Oudomxay, 88.65 km): China Railway No.5 Engineering Group (owned by China Railway Group Limited)
2. Meuang Xay (Oudomxay) - Nam Seu Bridge (68.8 km, including Mueang Xai station yard): China Railway International Group (owned by China Railway Group Limited)
3. Nam Seu Bridge - Phou Sanen Hill (65.6 km, including Bridge across Sue river): China Railway Baju Group Company (owned by China Railway Group Limited)
4. Phou Sanen Hill - Ban Pa Village (61.49 km): Sinohydro Group
5. Ban Pa Village - Phonhong (79.5 km): Power Construction Corporation of China
6. Phonhong - Vientiane (65.7 km, (including Phone Hong station yard): China Railway Erju Co., Ltd (owned by China Railway Group Limited)
See also Map China Laos Railway
See video of the line