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Transport Ministry Hopes to Begin Building Hanoi-Saigon High-Speed Rail in 2028

We'll believe it when we see it. 

VnExpress reports that the Ministry of Transport aims to begin construction of the proposed high-speed rail line connecting Saigon and Hanoi in 2028. The immensely ambitious project is still awaiting approval from the National Assembly and the Politburo.

If approved, work would begin later this decade on the sections from Hanoi to Vinh and Saigon to Nha Trang, with those two projects expected to cost US$4.9 billion. 

The planned high-speed line would eventually stretch 1,545 kilometers, with trains reaching maximum speeds of 320km/h. Once completed, this route would service passengers, while the old national rail line would only be used for cargo movement.

A high-speed route linking Vietnam's two biggest cities has been under discussion since at least 2018, but its feasibility has been questioned given the ubiquity of fast, inexpensive air travel in the country and the enormous cost of the project, which could run as high as US$60 billion. 

It is not known when the high-speed rail project will be taken up by the National Assembly or the Politburo for potential approval. 

In traditional railway news, the transport ministry has also proposed a US$96 million project to upgrade the line between Lao Cai Station and China's Hekou North Station. Currently, goods being transported between China and Vietnam must be offloaded and moved onto another train, since the two countries use different gauges on their rail lines.

This upgrade would bring the line on Vietnam's side to the same gauge, thus improving transport efficiency and reducing costs. 

[Photo: A high-speed train in Japan/Rikky Sama via Unplash]