Giant Consolidated Limited, the Malaysian investor in the project, expects to begin construction in January on the 220-kilometre-long track linking Savannakhet to Laobao on the Lao-Vietnamese border and complete it within four years, the Socio-Economic newspaper reported.

The contract to build and operate the railway was signed on Nov 5. Giant Consolidated Limited was granted a 50-year concession to operate the rail link, which will form part of the East-West Corridor linking Malaysia to Thailand, Laos and Vietnam by rail.

The railway scheme, to accommodate trains with top speeds of 120 kilometres per hour, will require the construction of 11 stations and 14 bridges, the newspaper said.

Last month, the National Assembly approved the government's plan to build a $7 billion railway linking Vientiane to the Lao-China border. The project is expected to receive a loan from the Chinese Export Bank.

The Bangkok Post - November 14, 2012