5 km, $200 mln could be cut for high-speed HCMC-Mekong Delta rail

By Gia Minh   January 22, 2021 | 04:45 pm PT
5 km, $200 mln could be cut for high-speed HCMC-Mekong Delta rail
The HCMC-Can Tho high-speed rail is now planned to run parallel the HCMC-Trung Luong-My Thuan-Can Tho Expressway, which is under construction in this photo taken in January, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
A high-speed rail running from HCMC to Can Tho can save $200 million if its distance is cut 5 kilometers, a research unit reckons.

According to the new plan proposed, the rail route will run 135 km (84 miles) through three Mekong Delta provinces of Long An, Tien Giang and Vinh Long to connect the two biggest cities in southern Vietnam.

The new route is proposed by the project’s research unit, the Southern Institute of Science and Technology under the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations.

In the institute’s new proposal sent to the Ministry of Transport, the route is 5 km shorter than previously planned and will have one less station.

The route will then run from Tan Kien station in HCMC’s Binh Chanh District, which borders Long An Province, to Cai Rang District in Can Tho City, the capital of the Mekong Delta.

The rail will have one depot in HCMC’s Binh Chanh District where the trains will be maintained and repaired.

The new changes will help cut the project’s investment costs by $200 million and reduce the clearance volume. The initial investment estimate is around $10 billion.

Trains used for this rail route would have designed speeds of 200 kph to carry passengers and 150 kph for transporting cargo. The project would use double rails of 1,435 mm gauge, the standard for high-speed rails.

The project would be carried out under the build-operate-transfer investment form, with the investor allowed to operate it for 25 years before handing it back to the transport ministry.

Once operational, the rail route will help cut traveling time between the two cities to just 45 minutes, compared to the current four hours.

Experts have said that the route will strengthen links between the economic zones of southern Vietnam and the Mekong Delta, while meeting cargo and passenger transportation needs and reducing traffic congestion.

It will run parallel with the HCMC-Trung Luong-My Thuan-Can Tho expressway, currently the only such road connecting HCMC and the entire delta region. The Trung Luong-My Thuan section of the expressway has basically completed and will open to traffic within this year, while work has just started on the My Thuan-Can Tho section earlier this month.

The institute said two investors from the U.S. and the U.K. have expressed interest in the project.

In a recently-approved master plan for logistics development until 2025 and with a vision to 2030, HCMC has determined that in the next 10 years, it would be necessary to develop a modern railway network to transport goods and connect major seaports of the city to other parts of the southern region.

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