China-Laos Railway set to open cross-border passenger services

2023-04-11 16:29:19
Summary:Passengers in China and Laos can buy train tickets between the two countries starting Tuesday, as the high-profil...
Passengers in China and Laos can buy train tickets between the two countries starting Tuesday, as the high-profile China-Laos Railway will open cross-border passenger services on Thursday, making it the first international passenger train service since the COVID-19 outbreak to start operations.

According to China State Railway Group, the national railway operator, starting from 9 am on Tuesday, passengers who depart from China can buy tickets all the way to Vientiane, capital of Laos, via Chinese railway ticket booking system. Passengers who start their journey from Laos can buy tickets via LCR Ticket App, a China-developed railway ticket booking system used in Laos.

The line opened to traffic on Dec 3, 2021, but the international passenger service was not offered until now due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Starting Thursday, two international passenger train services will operate every day— from Kunming, capital of Yunnan province to Vientiane and back.

The journey will take 10 and a half hours, including customs clearance at the railway borders. It will stop at eight railway stations—four in China and the rest in Laos.

The train D887 is set to leave Kunming at 8:08 am and arrive in Vientiane at 6:38 pm. Train D888 is scheduled to leave Vientiane at 9:08 am (Beijing time), and arrive in Kunming at 7:38 pm.

The bullet trains Fuxing and Lancang will offer cross-border services. The trains, with one first-class coach, six second-class coaches and one dining car, can take up to 720 passengers.

Chinese and Lao standard power sockets are available under each seat. Onboard information such as broadcasting and signs will be offered in Chinese, Lao and English.

At the beginning of the service's operation, international services will be offered in three coaches and domestic services will be provided in five coaches according to the forecast of cross-border passenger flow. Adjustments will be made based on passenger flow, and international and domestic travelers will be placed in different coaches.

International passengers have to go through customs clearance twice. When the outbound train arrives at the Chinese border in Mohan, cross-border travelers have to take all their belongings off the train, go through departure procedures and then return. When the train arrives at Boten, the border station in Laos, passengers have to repeat the process.

It takes about three hours to finish customs clearance at the two borders, and the process is the same for passengers in the other direction.

The 1,035-kilometer China-Laos Railway is a landmark infrastructure project of the Belt and Road Initiative. As of Sunday, 13.93 million passenger trips were made, and 18.38 million tons of cargo were transported. Among them, 3.59 million were cross-border shipments.

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