The China-Laos railway carries dreams and brings hearts together

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The China-Laos Railway will bring great convenience to trade and travel between the two countries and will become an important part of the north-south artery of the Indochinese peninsulas to overcome the difficulties of land transport and develop its economy.

by Phouthaphone Sirivong, Zhang Jianhua

VIENTIANE, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) – The October sun still burns in a guardrail base on the northern outskirts of the Laotian capital, Vientiane, but what matters is the train’s maintenance jingle that sounds like music.

The clear sound of the China Railway No. 2 Engineering Group (CREC-2) of the China-Laos Railway seems to celebrate her for one more step towards the fulfillment of her wish.

The 22-year-old looks gentle while holding a determined “steel locomotive dream”: to be a train driver. To this end, as soon as she learned that the China-Laos Railway was going to be built, she thought of working on it in the future.

The China-Laos Railway, which links Kunming in southwest China’s Yunnan Province to the Laotian capital Vientiane, is the first rail project built with Chinese investment, jointly operated by China and Laos and directly connected to the Chinese rail network. As the project enters the acceptance phase of completion, Sida becomes more and more enthusiastic.

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“I heard about the Laos-China Railway for the first time in 2015. In 2016, I went to Kunming to study the knowledge of railways. Back home, I went straight to Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd. to apply. for a post. I hope to be a great driver on the Laos-China railway, ”Sida told Xinhua recently.

Born in the hilly northern Laos town of Muangxay, Sida had the idea of ​​becoming a train driver from an early age. His hometown is only about 100 km from the Laos-China border, where the surrounding mountains block the route to China. Sida, who has hardly ever left the mountains, has always wanted to see what it looks like beyond the mountains.

It is also the common wish of the Lao people. The country is known as the “roof of the Indochinese Peninsula” and the only landlocked member of ASEAN with mountains and plateaus that make up about 80 percent of the country’s land area. Breaking the blockade of the mountains and converting them from a landlocked country to a center linked to the land are the wishes of the Lao people.

“Due to the mountains of northern Laos, the roads connecting the towns are winding and dangerous. Many old people have never left the mountains where they were born,” Khamsai Phimvongsa, a farmer from Vientiane, told Xinhua.

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In 2015, the Chinese and Lao governments signed an intergovernmental railway cooperation agreement, marking the official entry of the China-Laos Railway into the implementation phase, which has become an opportunity to realize the aspirations of the Lao people.

The China-Laos Railway, as an important part of the Trans-Asian rail network, is of great strategic and practical importance to Laos, according to a signed article titled “Jointly Building a Community of Strategic Destiny between China and the Laos. “

The two sides should strengthen the overall coordination and strive to quickly complete the opening of the railway, so that Laos and its neighboring countries and the world can be better connected.

The Belt and Road Initiative is an opportunity, through economic infrastructure, trade, investment and people-to-people connectivity, to deepen mutual trust and aid between China and the countries of the Belt and Road Initiative. So we have the landed project, Laos-China railway project, ”Laotian Prime Minister Phankham Viphavanh said in an interview with Xinhua in August.

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The railway therefore carried the hopes and expectations of many Lao people.

“Personally, the Laos-China railway gave me a stable job, and at the national level, the Laos-China railway can lead the multi-level and all-round development of Laos. In particular, my hometown of Muangxay has a long history of importing from (China). The opening of the Laos-China railway will make it easier to import for Muangxay, ”Sida said.

Khamsai, a 60-year-old Lao farmer, said he hopes to sell local fruits and vegetables to China to improve rural life in Laos. A middle-aged official from Xaythany district in Vientiane said, “I hope the railway will expand to Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia to bring neighbors to do business, invest and travel. .

The 1,013 km China-Laos Railway consists of two sections, the Chinese section and the Lao section. Along the way there are mountains and deep valleys with a complex geological situation.

The ratio between bridges and tunnels is quite high with that of the Chinese section up to 87% and the Laotian section up to 63%, including the Ban Ladhan Mekong bridge of 1,651 meters, the Luang Prabang Mekong bridge of 1,459. meters, Ban Sen No. 2 of 9,384 meters. Tunnel, Ban Nakok tunnel of 9,296 meters. It is said that the China-Laos railway was not paved, but erected and drilled with many difficulties.

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“I found the Chinese engineers to be so wonderful. Faced with the complex terrain of the mountainous plateaus, they can still use advanced technology to drill every tunnel,” Thonglien Outhayod, a Lao employee of China Railway No.2 Engineering Group ( CREC -2) Vientiane Guardrail Base, Xinhua said in October.

“On the job site, busy Chinese engineers can still be seen around the clock,” Sida also said. “The heat in Laos has added difficulties to the construction of the tunnel, while the temperature in the tunnel is much higher than outside. Working in a tunnel takes a lot of patience and persistence.”

During the construction of the railway, Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd. opened a training course for around 600 Laotian trainees to learn train driving, scheduling and maintenance. AIDS is one of them.

The China-Laos Railway also carries the wishes and dreams of Chinese engineers.

© Provided by Xinhua

Hu Bin, project manager of the CREC-2 China-Laos rail guard base in Vientiane, has been working in Laos for four years. His team set out to build bridges and lay rails for the entire Lao section, taking the lead in the construction of the first Chinese standard railway beam yard overseas and carrying out the first production and installation of Chinese standard beams. bridge in a Belt and Road country with Chinese standard.

“I am very proud to be able to join the Belt and Road project,” he told reporters. “We are very proud to build a railway with Chinese standards and Chinese technology in a foreign country.”

Lei Chao, the executive director of the CREC-2 Vientiane rail base, is expected to see the completion of the railroad in December. “We are very happy to see that Laotian interns can grow up on the construction sites of the China-Laos railway, then have their own stable job with full expectation for their future.”

The China-Laos Railway will bring great convenience to trade and travel between the two countries and will become an important part of the north-south artery of the Indochinese peninsulas to overcome the difficulties of land transport and develop its economy.


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