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Laos well-prepared for China-Laos Railway cross-border passenger service: Deputy PM

Preparations for the start of cross-border passenger services on the China-Laos Railway’s Lao section are progressing well, with the new service expected to start in April, said Deputy Prime Minister Saleumxay Kommasith.

DPM Saleumxay went to Luang Namtha province on Thursday and Friday, which borders China, to monitor the progress of the railway preparations, Lao National Radio reported on Tuesday.

During the visit, Mr Saleumxay also inspected immigration checkpoints at Boten Station in Luang Namtha, which is the main entry point into Laos from China.

At a recent extraordinary cabinet meeting on March 15-16, Prime Minister Sonexay Siphandone called for the urgent installation of immigration booths at train stations to facilitate travel by both inbound and outbound passengers.

The first cross-border passenger train is expected to run on April 13, the day before the annual Lao New Year holiday, which falls on April 14-16 every year.

The planned launch of the cross-border rail passenger service comes just in time for the Lao New Year, the most important festival in the Lao calendar. This annual festival is expected to boost passenger traffic on the railway during the holiday, according to the report.

Since the China-Laos Railway came into operation, it has seen increasing demand for its services. From January to February, the railway carried 417,400 passengers, up 256.2 percent compared to the same period in 2022.

On the busiest days, the Lao section of the railway made a record for carrying 10,197 passengers a day.

Also, a ticketing mobile application was officially launched, allowing passengers to book and manage their journeys on smartphones.

Source: Lao News Agency