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Vietnam Pushes Ahead With High-Speed Rail Line

While Saigon may soon be getting its eagerly awaited metro and BRT systems, a considerably larger infrastructure project is slowly gaining steam – a north-south high-speed railway.


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At a meeting on Tuesday, Dinh La Thang, head of the Ministry of Transport, said that the country’s first high-speed rail line should be planned in a transparent manner with feedback from experts and citizens in terms of how the project will be implemented, reports VnExpress.

Earlier this year, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung approved the construction of the line on which trains will run at speeds of up to 350kph.

The main issue to address is whether the railway should be continuous in nature, running directly from Saigon to Hanoi, or if it should be divided into two separate routes, one between Hanoi and Vinh and the other connecting Saigon and Nha Trang.

According to Dinh, it would be easier to fund shorter routes, while some expert said that a railway over 900 kilometers would be more efficient.

Plans for high-speed rail have been in the works for years and Dinh seems to be pushing the project, suggesting that the complete plan for be submitted to the National Assembly by 2020.

Under such a scheme, construction along the aforementioned major corridors should begin around 2020 and be completed by 2050. The long-term plan is to integrate the country’s railway with the massive Trans-Asian rail project that would run through dozens of countries.

Though the budget for the high-speed rail line wasn’t revealed, the National Assembly rejected a similar US$56 billion proposal in 2010 due to the fact that the figure represented half of the country’s GDP at the time.

In the meantime, there’s much work to be done on Vietnam’s existing north-south railway as there have been 86 railway accidents in the country this year alone.

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