Construction began on the last section of the proposed Trans-Asia railway within China, connecting the southwest of the country with Burma, began on Tuesday March 20.
The Dali-Ruili railway will stretch from Kunming, capital of Yunnan Province, in three different routes through Laos, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Malaysia before terminating in Singapore.
The 350-kilometres section on the westernmost route will cost an estimated 14.7 billion yuan (1.9 billion US dollars). The planned capacity is 12 trains a day and it is expected to handle 12 million tonnes of cargo a year.
“The railway will turn Yunnan into a transportation terminal and promote the province’s economic status,” said Yunnan provincial governor Qin Guangrong.
Construction of the 142-kilometres Yuxi-Mengzi section on the eastern line from Yunnan to Vietnam, and the 599-kilometres Yuxi-Mohan central section to Laos are both under way.
The Trans-Asia railway was initiated by former Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad in 1995 at an Asean summit and is expected to be completed by 2015.
With a population of 40 million, Yunnan neighbours Laos, Burma and Vietnam.