The State Railway of Thailand (SRT) is preparing to launch its inaugural train service between Bangkok and Vientiane in Laos, scheduled to officially begin service on July 19. The new service will use the Northeastern railway line, crossing the First Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge and then terminating at Vientiane Station.

The entire trip from Bangkok to Vientiane will take approximately twelve hours. The introduction of this service is the result of close collaboration between the SRT and Lao National Railways, aiming to promote tourism and enhance logistics between the two countries. Prior to the launch, a successful trial service was conducted between 18 to 20 May, connecting Thailand’s Udon Thani and Nong Khai stations, and Laos’ Thanalaeng and Vientiane stations. The construction of the Lao-Thai Railway Project began in 2013 with an initial completion target set for the end of 2021. However, the Khamsavath Station project encountered delays, resulting in its completion in 2023.

It will now be possible to transport passengers arriving by plane at Udon Thani Airport directly to Vientiane without the need for other transportation, which aligns with the Thai government’s IGNITE THAILAND policy, which aims to drive Thailand as a regional centre for tourism and logistics.

This new rail connection bridges Thailand, Laos, and China through a comprehensive network of tracks. The link from Bangkok to Beijing, spanning approximately 3,200 kilometres, showcases the region’s commitment to enhancing cross-border rail travel.

The newly established short link from Nong Khai to Laos completes a crucial gap in the network, allowing for seamless travel from Thailand’s capital to Vientiane, and onward to Kunming via the existing Laos-China high-speed rail.

For freight logistics, this new rail corridor presents substantial advantages. The rail link has slashed delivery times for Thai goods reaching China, with the trip to Kunming now taking just 15 hours by train, compared to the previous two-day journey by truck through challenging mountainous terrain. This improvement in freight efficiency is likely to boost trade relations and economic ties between the countries involved.

 

Image Credit: Kuruman / flickr