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Hanoi's First 2 Metro Lines May Open by End of This Year

Let's begin the new year with updates from Hanoi's much-anticipated urban railway project.

According to VnExpress, construction work on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line has finally been completed. At one point, the route had been expected to open on April 30, 2019, but the project has been dogged by repeated delays.

Tang Hong, director of the metro line and an employee from the China Railway Sixth Group, told the news source early last month that the installation of equipment and training of staff have also been completed. He also shared that a planned 20-day trial run which began at the end of October was shortened to just five days as other procedures had to be completed first.

"The five-day trial showed that all Vietnamese staff were capable of independently operating the metro," Hong told VnExpress. "The trial will resume with approval from the Metropolitan Railway Management Board (MRB)."

Meanwhile, China Railway Sixth Group, the primary contractor for the project, is completing other administrative steps, while the line is also awaiting a safety evaluation from Apave-Certifier-Tricc, a French consulting consortium. Once those procedures are completed, the Ministry of Transport can take over control.

There is no timeline for this, while the metro line is costing US$2.16 million per month in salaries to over 200 Chinese and Vietnamese employees, office rentals and other operating costs. The project is also consuming VND100 million (US$4,300) worth of eletricity a day.

Elsewhere in the capital, city chairman Nguyen Duc Chung has said he wants the elevated section of the Nhon-Hanoi Railway State line to open in the fourth quarter of this year.

The 12.5-kilometer-long line includes 8.5 kilometers of elevated track and four kilometers of underground track. Work on the above-ground stretch is largely completed, and trains are expected to be delivered in June. The four underground stations are scheduled for completion in 2023.

Correction: A previous version of this article mistakenly attributed the monthly US$2.16 million to only staff salaries. The amount is also used to pay other items like office rentals and other operating costs.

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