First Saigon metro line gets power

By Gia Minh, Quynh Tran   February 19, 2021 | 05:00 pm PT
First Saigon metro line gets power
Workers pull a electricity cable to provide power for the metro line No.1 of HCMC at the section in Thu Duc City, February 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran.
HCMC has begun electrifying local metro line No. 1 to prepare for trial operation after completion of basic construction.

Started Friday, work is expected to last until the year-end to connect the entire line to the power grid, including two major stations at the Binh Thai intersection of Thu Duc City and the Tan Cang Port area in Binh Thanh District.

The two stations will back one another in case any issues occur once the line becomes officially operational.

The 19.7-kilometer metro route No. 1 from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Theme Park in District 9 will feature 17 Japanese-made trains.

Built at a cost of VND43.7 trillion ($1.89 billion), it will include 14 stations, three underground and 11 on the surface, some elevated.

Huynh Hong Thanh, deputy head of project investor HCMC Management Authority for Urban Railways (MAUR), said powering the line marks a significant transition from infrastructure construction to trial operation.

Jason Frasor, a project manager representing Japanese contractor Hitachi, said along with powering the line, the contractor would also install electromechanical equipment for the entire metro system within this year.

From now until the year’s end, shipping of remaining trains would also be completed.

So far, only three of 51 Japanese-made cars meant for the line had arrived in the city and been installed on the track. The delivery delay has been ascribed to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In a recent report to the city’s administration, investor MAUR said services would be delayed yet again and only commence next year. The line was scheduled to enter operation late this year.

As of last year, 82 percent of the work had been completed against a targeted 85 percent.

MAUR said progress was delayed last year as Japanese and European engineers installing the tracks were unable to enter Vietnam after international flights were suspended due to the pandemic.

Vietnam closed its borders and suspended all international flights in March 2020.

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