VIENTIANE, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) -- As many as 600 Lao workers will undergo training in China in preparation for operation of the China-Laos railway, which is scheduled to commence service in December 2021, the rail operator has announced.
Personnel selection and training will be carried out in three sessions, with the first job vacancies expected to be announced this month, said a senior official with the China-Laos Railway Company (LCRC), a joint venture to operate the railway.
Selection will include an examination and assessment of the applicants' backgrounds, local daily Vientiane Times on Thursday quoted LCRC General Manager Li Bingxuan as speaking at the company's annual meeting on Monday in Vientiane.
The first group of trainees is expected to go to Kunming in southwestern China's Yunnan province later this year, where they will attend courses for about 15 to 18 months. They will be trained as mechanics, train drivers and related occupations as well as learn to supervise rail system maintenance, according to a Lao official in the company.
The laying of rail track will begin this year with the developer expecting to complete laying track from the Chinese border to Lao province of Luang Prabang by the end of the year, according to LCRC.
The Lao government hopes the railway will help transform Laos from being a landlocked country to a land-linked one, said the Lao daily, adding that local businesses expect that the railway will help significantly lower transport costs and enable them to become more competitive.
The China-Laos Railway is a strategic docking project between the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative and Laos' strategy to convert itself from a landlocked country to a land-linked hub.
The 414.332-km railway, with 198-km tunnels and 62-km bridges, will run from Boten border gate in northern Laos, bordering China, to Vientiane with an operating speed of 160 km per hour.
The electrified passenger and cargo railway is built with the full application of Chinese management and technical standards.
The project started in December 2016 and is scheduled to be completed and opened to traffic in December 2021.