First railway link between Thailand and Laos opened
The first railway link across the Mekong River connecting Thailand with Laos was officially opened Thursday in a ceremony presided over by Thailand's Princess Sirindhorn.
The line allows travel by train from Bangkok to a station inside Laos for the first time, although the train currently stops a few kilometers short of the Laos capital of Vientiane, reported dpa.
Passengers from Nong Khai in north-east Thailand can now cross the Friendship Bridge to stop at Thanaleng, a hop of 3.5 kilometers in distance. Fares for the short journey range from the equivalent of 1 dollar to 3 dollars.
The deputy director of the Lao Railway Authority, Sompong Pholsena, speaking to the Lao News Agency earlier, said the opening marked a historical moment for the Lao people because it will promote social and economic ties between the two countries.
The Laos authorities' plans include rail lines running north from the capital to Luang Prabang and to Boten on its border with China. The ultimate aim was to "unlock" and transform a country with no direct access to the sea with a series of "superb" rail links, Mr Sompong added.