This year is the 100th anniversary of the Yunnan–Vietnam Railway. It was more than a century ago, on March 31, 1901, that French colonialists began building a railway from Hai Phong in Vietnam to Kunming, in Southwest China's Yunnan province.
The railway used a 1,000 mm gauge due to the mountainous terrain along the route. Currently it is the only main line in China using the metre gauge, but it may be converted to a standard gauge.
The French Yunnan-Vietnam Railway Construction Co recruited more than 60,000 Chinese laborers from all over China, and more than 3,000 French, American, British, Italian and Canadian engineers were involved in the construction.
The Yunnan-Vietnam Railway starts from Hanoi in Vietnam, goes over the Red River to Hekou, the border city on the Chinese side, before heading north to Kunming. Of its overall length of 800 km, the Yunnan section between Hekou and Kunming is 465 km.