Hanoi turns down demand to let Train Street cafés reopen

By Doan Loan   October 23, 2019 | 12:29 am PT
Hanoi turns down demand to let Train Street cafés reopen
A section of Hanoi's Phung Hung Street is barricaded to separate visitors from a railway attraction. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
A petition by coffee shop owners on Hanoi's Train Street to reopen their businesses has been rejected on safety grounds, a local leader said.

People running cafés on the Tran Phu Street side last Sunday asked to remove the barriers at the rail crossing that prevent people from entering the Train Street, promising they would keep a minimum distance of 1.5 meters from the tracks.

But Pham Tuan Long, deputy chairman of Hoan Kiem District said on Wednesday that running businesses in the area would affect safety.

The barricades would remain in place to keep people visiting Phung Hung Street safe, the district has stated without indicating when they would be removed.

They were put up in mid-October on the Ministry of Transport's instructions, and the place has since worn a deserted look.

The Train Street refers to a section of railway tracks that run between Dien Bien Phu and Phung Hung streets just a few feet from houses on either side.

The tracks were built more than 100 years ago by the French, who used the railroad to transport goods and people across Vietnam, which was then part of Indochina along with Laos and Cambodia. The meter-gauge tracks remain in commercial use.

When a few years ago visitors began to flock to the area to see the trains, locals saw an opportunity and opened makeshift cafés alongside the tracks, contributing to further increasing the number of visitors.

Tourists prevented from entering Hanoi Train Street. Video by Loc Chung.

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