Four key North-South railway projects set to get underway
- Gov't considers giving Vietnam Railways back to Transport Ministry
- Only one North-South train operates during COVID-19 epidemic
Considered “urgent”, the projects will use 7 trillion VND (nearly 300.5 million USD) from State budget reserves for mid-term investment during the 2016-2020 period.
They are among 14 urgent transport projects receiving total funding of 15 trillion VND and approved by the Standing Committee of the 14th National Assembly in July 2018.
They include the upgrade of dilapidated bridges on the Hanoi - HCM City line, which is expected to begin in May, and the repair of tunnels and construction of new stations on the Vinh - Nha Trang stretch, which will begin in June.
Upgrades to the Hanoi - Vinh and Nha Trang - HCM City stretches are also scheduled to begin in June.
According to the Railway Project Management Board, most bridges along the North-South line were built at least a century ago under French standards that are no longer appropriate.
Stone and concrete abutments have weathered over time, and steel girders have split or are covered in rust.
Moreover, many lines were severely damaged during wartime. Though bridges were repaired, their capacity remains limited and lowers the competitiveness of railway compared to other means of transport.
The need for repair or replacement has become urgent, in order to ensure safety. Failing to upgrade low-quality bridges along the North-South line would create risks to both trains and passengers.