VIENTIANE, July 3 (Xinhua) -- The groundbreaking ceremony for the Vientiane station of the China-Laos Railway was held on Friday in the northern outskirts of the Lao capital.
The Vientiane station, to be built by China Railway Construction Group Co., Ltd. (CRCG), will consist of four platforms with seven track lines and two additional platforms with three lines reserved.
With a construction area of 14,543 square meters, the station can hold maximum 2,500 passengers, according to the Laos-China Railway Co., Ltd.(LCRC), a Vientian-based joint venture in charge of the railway's construction and operation.
The station was designed under the concept of "City of Sandalwood (original meaning of the word Vientiane), Friendship between Laos and China," integrating the cultural traditions and national temperament of the two countries in a modern traffic architecture, according to an LCRC press release.
The station was designed to be a people-oriented, green and environmentally friendly one, said the company.
Xiao Qianwen, the LCRC general manager, said during the groundbreaking ceremony that the construction of the China-Laos Railway project has been progressing steadily, with the civil engineering being 90 percent completed, and the focus now is station engineering and operation preparation.
During a critical time when heavy construction tasks are coupled with COVID-19 epidemic prevention, the engineering companies should focus on the construction of station buildings, maintain high quality and strengthen safety management and organization.
Head of the Laos-China Railway Project Management Committee under the Lao Ministry of Public Works and Transport Chantula Phanalasy said the Laos-China railway will drive economic development, improve the living standards of the Lao people, promote the economic cooperation between Laos and China and contribute to the cooperation and exchanges between China and southeast Asian countries.
The railway will serve as a link between Laos and neighboring countries and the international railway network, said Chantula, adding that the Vientiane station is the largest passenger station of the Laos-China railway, and it is expected to connect with the follow-up railways planned by the Lao side.
The China-Laos Railway is a strategic docking project between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Laos' strategy to convert from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub.
The 422-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, with its construction starting in December 2016 and scheduled to be completed and open to traffic in December 2021.