Future of Laotian Railways

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LoongLee
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Future of Laotian Railways

Post by LoongLee » March 6, 2009, 11:54 pm

Several topics recently refer to new rail connection to Lao PDR. The article below is not too old but may give an idea of future developments or intentions.

Voice of America (VoA) News, 22/07/08, by Dara Baccam:

An initial survey, carried out with the assistance of the Chinese and Vietnamese governments, indicates that Laos will need 1.3 billion dollars to build a cross-country railroad network to link with the other five members of the Greater Mekong Sub-region or GMS, namely Burma, China, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.

The network will consist of nine railways that are considered top priorities, with three vertical lines and six horizontal lines.

The vertical or North-South lines will include tracks from the capital city of Vientiane to Luang Prabang - a distance of 530 kilometers; from Vientiane to Thakek - 330 km; and from Thakek to Savannakhet then Pakse and on to Vangtao on the border with Thailand, a distance of 370 km. Construction of these three lines is expected to cost more than 6,160 million dollars.

The horizontal or East-West network, estimated to cost over 6,872 million dollars, will include lines from Thakek to the Vietnamese border in the East at Mou Nha, to run along Route 12 at a distance of 135 kilometers; from Savannakhet eastward to Lao Bao on the Vietnamese border along R. 9 at 215 km; from Luang Prabang to Xiengkhuang to the Vietnamese border at 298 km along R. 4; from Paksane to Xiengkhuang along R. 5 at 123 km; from Boten to Huay Say along R. 3 at 230 km; and another line eastward from Savannakhet to the Vietnamese border at La Lay along R. 15, at 215 km.

The Lao government thinks that by building this railroad network, it will become the center of communication and transportation of the Greater-Mekong Sub-region, and hopes to draw foreign investors' interest in the project and attract foreign assistance, just as in its first railway project which was completed and opened earlier this month.

The 3.5 km railway, running from the Friendship Bridge to Tha Nalaeng on the outskirts of Vientiane, was built with the help of the Thai government at the cost of 197 million bahts, 70% of which is long-tern loans. Thailand is reportedly to assist Laos also with the construction of the second phase of this line, from Tha Nalaeng to the capital city.


Lao officials say this railway is the first step toward building an all-Asia network linking all GMS member nations. and eventually all ASEAN members with Laos at the center.



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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by Prenders88 » March 7, 2009, 12:10 am

I would imagine there would have to be some sort of visa agreement between the ASEAN members like the EEC's Schengen scheme, to make it simple to travel from Thailand to Vietnam's beaches and resorts to the East.

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by wazza » March 9, 2009, 3:17 am

If u look at the countries involved here and where they rank in the Transparency ratings of corruption, this railway will cost 1.3 billlion just in back handers.

The friendship bridge built by the Australian goverment was how much over budget and how many years ? behind in deadlines. At least the railway steering committee was njow justified how many years later ??

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by FrazeeDK » March 9, 2009, 7:49 am

not to mention the fact that the current 3.5km railway "spur" into Lao was supposed to be finished, all the way to Vientiane back in 1997!!! That said, the Chinese government will make at least 2 of north/south corridor railways happen just to exploit the mineral resources of Lao and to allow easy land export of bulk goods from China to Lao, Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Singapore.. I think we'll see a Kunming to Chiang Rai area track and Kunming-Luang Prabang-Vientiane link.. The east-west corridors might be financed by the Vietnamese particularly the Savannakhet-Rte 9- Port of Danang route..

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » March 9, 2009, 7:54 am

Will China use Bangkok or Rangoon as the port to transfer oil by railway to centres in western and south-western China? All of these railways, of course, have strategic and military implications.

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by LoongLee » March 9, 2009, 8:40 pm

Tilokarat,,, Rail transport of oil is too expensive when a much cheaper way exists by sea (tankers). Geopolitically, a rail or pipeline system is sensitive and subject to interuption. Much cheaper to transport bulk oil by sea and refine it on the China coast, then pipe it to interior regions. And yes, you're absolutely right, the rail lines (and the new all-weather roads) have tremendous military/strategic implications.

The so called smart guys behind the ivy-covered university walls would say that the links will bind the region together economically and foster better cooperation and peace because the money will be more important than old rivalries.

I personally think it will lead to an unprecedented hegemony of Chinese influence in the region. An interesting question will be how will Australia position itself for the coming "Chinese Century". Lots of resources and few population....... :-k

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by Laan Yaa Mo » March 10, 2009, 4:45 am

Yes, we seem to be going back to old Imperial times when China exercised its tributary system in which all other countries had to pay homage to the Emperor and refer to themselves as ignorant, uncivilised barbarians when addressing the Celestial Court.

The West seems to have decided that it is better to have China in charge of this region than pour their own military resources and men into Southeast and East Asia.

Perhaps this is a natural development. Indonesia, Japan, Vietnam and Malaysia might not be so willing to be part of such a system.

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by bumper » March 10, 2009, 6:56 am

Isn't Lao land locked so be it crude oil or fuel has to get in somehow.

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by LoongLee » March 11, 2009, 4:45 am

Git,,,, they bring it in by sub up the Mekhong \:D/ \:D/ \:D/ \:D/ \:D/
Oh, so sorry,,, Devil made me type that.... ;)

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by bumper » March 11, 2009, 9:12 am

Cool learn something new everyday did I mention I have the bridge for sale now. great income maker. don't miss this chance


Devil made me do it :-" :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by Aardvark » March 11, 2009, 9:14 am

How much do you want for the Bridge :shock:

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by LoongLee » March 11, 2009, 11:27 pm

Speaking of bridges,,,,,, I wonder how long it will be before the Thais and Laos start really turning the NK bridge into a money maker and charging absurd tolls ( 5 times higher for farangs of course) ?

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by FrazeeDK » March 12, 2009, 7:49 am

and the Chinese are already in the process of building a large oil pipeline with associated port from China to the Indian ocean in Burma.. I have no idea if they're going to build a railway too...

Yes Lao imports all it's fuel products across the Nong Khai bridge.. The import is primarily via fuel trucks. I've seen dozens of them queued up near the oil tank farm near the immigration point on the river road on the Lao side.. perhaps the trucking cartels are the ones who held the rail project back for so many years. The rail transport of bulk goods like oil is far more efficient than trucks. Of course, it makes you wonder why an oil pipeline doesn't exists from Laem Chabang port up to Lao or from Danang Vietnam over to Lao...

the bottom line on the whole transport issue is that we're going to see huge huge changes in the next 5-10 years that will increase trade/travel and indeed Chinese influence..

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by bumper » March 12, 2009, 1:53 pm

The bridge is already a money maker, no one crosses free.

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by jackspratt » March 12, 2009, 2:19 pm

LuangLee wrote: I personally think it will lead to an unprecedented hegemony of Chinese influence in the region. An interesting question will be how will Australia position itself for the coming "Chinese Century". Lots of resources and few population....... :-k
Hopefully by avoiding paranioa and xenophobia (or should that be sinophobia?)

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by LoongLee » March 12, 2009, 8:45 pm

Jackspratt------ yeah,,,, that will help tremendously,,,, that way it won't hurt so much when the Chinese shove it in and yell "BOHICA" !!! :shock:

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by LoongLee » March 12, 2009, 10:09 pm

For those of you unaware of the infamous BOHICA, it's obvious you've never been ******* by the system or "higher ups".

BOHICA is "Bend Over, Here It Comes Again." Cheers :D

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by jackspratt » March 12, 2009, 10:22 pm

Maybe it will be a nice change to have a different world bully :-"

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by LoongLee » March 12, 2009, 10:32 pm

Well Jackspratt,,,,, I guess we're guilty of wandering off topic again, eh? Hope the wet noodles don't hurt this time :D

In an attempt to regain the subject,,,, I would love to be able to tour Laos on a decent rail system. However, given the time projects take in this part of the world,, I think I'm going to have to leave that trip to the younger guys,, what say you?

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Re: Future of Laotian Railways

Post by bumper » March 13, 2009, 5:52 am

I still want to ride it on a bike and that is already going on. You can do it by car just have to get the right permits, to take your car over. If they things don't loosen up on the bike side I may do that instead. yo can rent bikes there, but my back is not going to survive a dirt bike.

The Choo Choo would be cool. But, yuo don't have to wait on it. Imagine a trip through Lao, Vietnam and into China. hat would be somethign excitiong to do. Right now he real hangup is Vietnam. Haven't thought much about China cant get through Vietnam won't work. I think you would need an english speaking guide for each country. Yor Thai sweety isnl going to help you much in those countries.

Far as I know the highway already exists. it's the border crossing tha would stop everything. But, Lao can be done

The Map I got for the GPS actually includes all those countries

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