Trans-Vietnam high-speed rail project to beresumed

VietNamNet Bridge – In 2018 the Ministry of Transport will submit the trans-Vietnam high-speed railway project to the government, and if it is approved, several segments will be put into use before 2030.

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong

Speaking to the National Assembly Standing Committee on September 12, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong said the amended Railway Law will have a new chapter on the trans-Vietnam high-speed railway.

Dong said although the National Assembly had rejected the high-speed rail project before, under the strategy on Vietnam railway development plan, approved by the Prime Minister, a north-south high-speed rail route of 1,435 mm gauge will be completed in 2050.

The government instructed the Ministry of Transport to conduct the pre-feasibility study of this project. Accordingly, in 2018 the Ministry will submit this project to the Government for evaluation and then to the National Assembly for approval before 2020. 

The Saigon - Long Thanh will be the first segment under construction, followed by the Hanoi – Vinh route. After 2030, the Hanoi - Da Nang and Saigon – Danang routes. The entire route will be finalized by 2050, Dong said.

Deputy Minister Dong said, many studies on the high-speed rail routes have been underway. For example, South Korea has helped Vietnam study the Hanoi - Vinh and Ho Chi Minh City - Can Tho routes while the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has assisted the research of the Hanoi – Vinh segment.

While agreeing with the plan to develop a high-speed north-south railway, Deputy NA Chairwoman Tong Thi Phong has expressed concerns about investment sources and the competitiveness of the railway line with other forms of transport.

Chairman of the Economic Affairs Committee, Vu Hong Thanh, pointed out that for many years the railway sector has failed to attract investment from private enterprises while investments from the State remain limited.

The National Assembly’s Science, Technology and Environment Committee agreed with the basic idea on this project but the agency asked the Ministry of Transport to clarify the funding and roadmap.

Previous plans to develop the $56 billion high-speed railway have not been approved by NA due to cost.

In 2015 the government approved the development strategy for Vietnam’s railway transport to 2020 and vision to 2050, targeting the development of railway infrastructure and the high-level management of transport and services.

Under this strategy the railway sector targets accounting for about 1-2 per cent of the passenger transport market and 1-3 per cent of cargo transport by 2020. It also aims to capture 4-5 per cent of the urban passenger transport market in major cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Existing railway lines are to be upgraded, with priority given to modernizing the north-south line to increase the average speed to 80-90 km/h for passenger trains and 50-60 km/h for goods trains and improving transport capacity and quality.

The railway sector will also focus on upgrading key railway stations and those catering to large numbers passengers and gradually removing all level crossings.

A 1.435-mm gauge high-speed dual track on the north-south line is to be built and necessary preparations made for the construction of sections with high transport demand, especially those in regions such as Hanoi-Vinh and Ho Chi Minh City-Nha Trang.

From 2020 to 2030 the strategy targets accounting for 3-4 per cent of the passenger transport market and 4-5 per cent of goods transport and 15-20 per cent of urban passenger transport in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Thu Ly

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