Vietnam plans new northern railroad route to China

By Doan Loan   March 13, 2019 | 07:13 pm PT
Vietnam plans new northern railroad route to China
A worker operating a railway switch in Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress
Vietnam is considering building a railroad route connecting Hanoi with a Chinese border county.

The Vietnam Railway Authority has hired a Chinese consultancy to carry out a feasibility study, Vu Quang Khoi, its chief, said Tuesday.

The 392-kilometer route will start in the border province of Lao Cai and pass through Hanoi -- and eight cities and provinces in total – and end in the port city of Hai Phong.

A 5.6-kilometer track will also be laid between Lao Cai and China’s Hekou County.

The Chinese consultancy said currently trains between Lao Cai and Hai Phong can only operate at a maximum speed of 80 km, which is unfit for the high demand.

It proposed either upgrading the existing route into the standard 1,435mm gauge or laying new standard-gauge tracks, but said it preferred the second option, which would allow trains to run at up to 160 km.

Khoi said the project had been planned before but put on the back burner due to lack of funds.

The costs have not been revealed.

The study is set to be completed this year, and the Ministry of Transport would start looking for investors next year, Khoi added. 

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong said the railroad route would play an important role in trade.

Vietnam has over 3,000 kilometers of tracks, but none of them high-speed.

The government is considering a $58.7-billion high-speed North-South railway, which is scheduled for completion by 2045.

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