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Passengers board a China-Laos international passenger train in Kunming, Yunnan province, to travel to Laos on February 14.   --Photo Xinhua

China-Laos Railway clocks up 30m passengers

(China Daily) -- The China-Laos Railway had registered more than 30 million passenger trips and over 34 million metric tons of cargo by Tuesday, facilitating people and cargo movements from both countries and showcasing the railway’s role in injecting vitality into economic and social development along the line.
China State Railway Group, which built the line and oversees its operation, said that by Tuesday, the railway had carried 30.2 million passenger trips and 34.2 million tons of goods, including over 7.8 million tons of cross-border cargo.
To cater to passengers’ needs, more train services are being operated along the line. On the Chinese section, the average daily number of passenger trains has increased from 35 at the beginning of the line’s operation in late 2021 to 51, with the daily passenger volume rising from about 20,000 to 103,000.
On the Lao section, the average daily number of passenger trains has increased from four to 12, and daily passenger volume has risen from 720 to 12,808.
To make it easier for passengers to purchase tickets, an online and mobile application ticket system was launched in March last year, enabling internet-based ticket sales and supporting payment methods such as WeChat, Alipay, UnionPay, VISA and Onepay.
On April 13 last year, the China-Laos Railway began to offer international passenger service between Kunming, capital of Yunnan province, and Vientiane, capital of Laos. The trip takes about nine and a half hours. The international service has now handled more than 155,000 cross-border passenger trips, with travelers hailing from 87 countries and regions.
The international service recently began stopping at two additional stations, Yuxi in China and Xay district of Oudomxay province in Laos, taking the total number of stops on the cross-border service to 10.
The number of cross-border freight trains running each day has increased from two at the beginning of operations to 20.
The railway has transported 1.06 million tons of cross-border cargo so far this year, a year-on-year increase of 33.9 percent.
Using the China-Laos Railway and the China-Europe freight train services, cargo can be transported between Southeast Asian countries such as Laos and Thailand and European countries in 15 days.
On the Lao section, the regular-speed train has also carried parcels between Vientiane and Boten, on the border with China, since Feb 20, transporting a total of 15,173 packages. Parcels can be delivered in one day between the capital and the border city.
Wang Lijuan, the owner of an international tourism agency in Kunming, said she had seen more travelers from Thailand take the railway to China since the opening of the international passenger service last year.
“In the past, Thai tourists, especially from northern Thailand, had to travel to Bangkok to make a transfer before taking the plane to China,” she said. Her company mainly works with foreign tourists who want to travel to China.
The 1,035-kilometre China-Laos Railway, a landmark project of the Belt and Road Initiative, began operation in December 2021. It has turned Laos from a landlocked country into a land-linked hub in the Indochina Peninsula.

(Latest Update March 18, 2024)

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