Lao Officials from the Ministry of Public Works and Transport and other sectors are learning about railway operations from Chinese experts in capital Vientiane in readiness for the opening of China-Laos Railway in 2021.

The final railway technology training course is taking place at the Lao Front for National Development’s training centre from last Friday to November 28, with 45 people attending the course.

The training program teaches Lao officials about railway operations and management and is supported by China’s Ministry of Commerce and implemented by Peking University.

Speaking at the opening of the program, Deputy Head of Office of the Laos-China Cooperation Commission Anongdeth Chanthala said, “The railway is currently about 80 percent complete … It is a large-scale cooperation project and will require more technical personnel to operate and maintain the railway.”

Laos and China are also planning to build a training school for railway technicians and expect to start its design in 2020

The railway will be a milestone in the socio-economic and cooperation strategies of the two countries. The project is part of the Chinese Belt & Road Initiative and is expected to contribute to increased friendly relations and cooperation between the two neighbouring countries and ASEAN as a whole reported local media.

The 414.332 km railway, with 198 km tunnels and 62 km bridges, will run from Boten border gate in northern Laos, bordering China, to Vientiane with an operating speed of 160 km per hour.

The electrified passenger and cargo railway is built with the full application of Chinese management and technical standards.

The project started in December 2016 and is scheduled to be completed and opened to traffic in December 2021.