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Mr. Bounnhang Vorachit, Vice President of Lao PDR and Princess Prathep Rassasouda Sayambourom Rassakoummary of the Royal Thai Kingdom, co-chaired the inauguration ceremony of this first linking two countries together.
Also present at the ceremony were Thai Prime Minister,Abhisit Vejjajiva, and officials from the Ministries of Communication, Transportation and Construction of both countries. Laos and Thailand agreed that the train will run daily at 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 pm between Thanaleng in Vientiane and Nongkhai.
The fares will be 50 Baht per person for those who use sleep-able wagon, 30 Bath per person for the wagon with air conditioner, and 20 Bath for the standard wagon. The train is not operational yet. There are many issues, especially the regulations in operating the train service across the border and immigration, which authorities of both countries need to further address. Another factor is that Thai authorities still need to request the endorsement of the Thai Minister Council on all related rules and regulations as well as to complete the construction the immigration check point at Nongkhai province in Thailand.
Despite its short distance - only 3.5 km long, by spanning from Friendship Bridge to Thanaleng- Lao officials believe that the Thanaleng-Nongkhai railroad will reduce transportation problems by at least 50%, which will be beneficial to Laos in both its imports and exports. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva confirmed that the Thai government will help Laos build the 9-km link to further expand the recently completed railroad into the city.
Songrit Pongern reported from Bangkok on 06/03/09.
English translation by Buasawan Simmala
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