The State Railway of Thailand plans to extend its Bangkok-Nong Khai train service to reach Vientiane in April.
Trains would tentatively start operating from the Thanaleng station just across the border in Laos to the new Khamsavath station in Vientiane next month in preparation for the extended service in April, said Pichet Kunadhamraks, director-general of the Department of Rail Transport.
He said the SRT was already operating trains from the Nong Khai station in the northeastern province to Thanaleng, and the 7.5-kilometre stretch from Thanaleng to Khamsavath will be the final step.
The Nong Khai station is 13km from the Khamsavath station. The fare will be about 60 or 70 baht and a trip will take about 20 minutes.
Thai and Lao authorities are now working on details of immigration procedures for the extended service. Document checks should be required only once, in either Nong Khai or Vientiane, for passengers’ convenience, they say.
Lao train drivers will take over the SRT’s Vientiane-bound trains at the Nong Khai station to prevent Thai drivers from being prosecuted in Laos in the event of any accidents. The SRT has trained nine Lao drivers for the purpose.
When the extended service begins, the Bangkok-Nong Khai train service, departing from Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Terminal, will be renamed Bangkok-Vientiane (Khamsavath).