The construction of the 421km High-speed railway from the Laos-China border to Vientiane will begin as planned. Laos and China agreed that construction of the railway would begin in April 2011 to mark the 50th anniversary of Laos-China diplomatic relations and be completed within four years. Mr Somsavat said that Laos and China signed a memorandum of understanding on the railway in April 2010 after President Choummaly Sayasone and Chinese President Hu Jintao signed an agreement to elevate relations between the two countries to that of ‘all round strategic cooperation partners’. He also said the profile of Laos would be raised as it would be the first country in the region to have a high speed railway. The railway would be 421km long and include 190km of tunnels and 90km of bridges. It is envisaged that electric trains travelling at 200km per hour would carry passengers and trains travelling at 120 km per hour would carry freight. There would be five main stations along the line — at Boten, Oudomxay, Luang Prabang, Vangvieng and Vientiane. Mr Somsavat said construction of the railway would involve 50000 workers, adding that the project would train workers in Laos while management staff would be sent to China for training. The railway would form part of the Asean-China rail link, which begins in Yunnan province, China, and runs to Singapore through Laos and Thailand.
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