Lao railway set for full trial run next month
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Lao railway set for full trial run next month

Thailand and Laos are gearing up to open a railway network connecting Bangkok and Vientiane, according to the State Railway of Thailand (SRT), with a trial run set for next month.

The project aims to enhance connectivity for travellers and the passage of goods between the two countries while elevating the region's logistics system with Thailand as a hub.

SRT deputy governor Awirut Thongnet met Lao National Railways managing director Daochinda Siharath from Wednesday to Saturday to discuss the launch of the train service between Bangkok's Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Station and Vientiane's Khamsavath, said Ekkarat Sriarayanpong, head of the SRT governor's office, on Saturday.

Deputy Transport Minister Surapong Piyachote previously called on the SRT to be well prepared for the project before its official launch sometime next month, Mr Ekkarat said.

Topics of discussion between Mr Awirut and Mr Siharath included the operation plan for train services running on the Krung Thep Aphiwat Central Station-Udon Thani-Nong Khai-Vientiane section, Mr Ekkarat said. A trial run is scheduled to take place from July 13 to 14, he said.

Other discussions included tourism market development, advertising and public relations and how to upgrade the transport of goods between Thailand, Laos and China, he said, noting a team has been formed to work on the cross-border logistics.

The SRT has also provided training to the Lao railway staff in areas such as train operations, station management and ticket sales, he said.

A trial service between Udon Thani, Nong Khai, Thanalaeng and Vientiane stations was completed on May 21 without any problems, he said. Mr Ekkarat said this effort marks expanded collaboration between the two countries.

He said current train services from Thailand can take passengers to Thanalaeng Station in Laos. With the extension to Vientiane, there will be substantial economic benefits, he said.

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