Vietnam spends over $65M upgrading railway crossings

By VNA   March 16, 2024 | 07:44 pm PT
Vietnam spends over $65M upgrading railway crossings
A taxicab moves cross a railway in Hanoi, February 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
The Ministry of Transport has sourced over VND1.6 trillion (US$65 million) from the state budget to upgrade and repair 226 of 291 railway crossings that violated relevant regulations during the 2015 - 2023 period.

The remaining 65 railway crossings were constructed using various funding sources, the ministry said in a report.

Besides, units upgraded 452 railway crossings with signs to those with automatic barriers and with guards. They have also completed 382 out of 566 crossings with a budget of VND600 billion.

However, during the 2014 - 2020 period, due to difficulties in funding, the State budget did not allocate resources for compensation and the clearance for railway safety corridors, installation of railway safety corridor markers, construction of road bridges, separate from shared ones with railways, and overpasses on national highways over railway lines. As a result, most of the railway safety projects and transport works outlined have yet to be implemented.

The Ministry of Transport has recommended the Government issue directives or official dispatches requiring ministries, sectors, and localities to concentrate on effectively implementing the project.

Localities with railways running through have been requested to prioritize funds for constructing crossings and barriers to eliminate unauthorized crossings over railways.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance has been asked to prioritize allocating capital sourced from railway economic activities in 2024 and following years to upgrade and fully equip the signaling system at crossings, thus ensuring safety for residents.

The upgrading of level-crossings is an urgent task for the railway sector due to numerous tragic accidents that have occurred at crossroads.

Despite warnings and communication campaigns by local authorities, many people still disregard the dangers and create illegally-established crossings to make travel easier for themselves.

Railway accidents are mainly due to motorbike and car drivers’ poor awareness. At many crossings, when the bell rings, the red light flashes to signal a train’s arrival, but many car and motorbike drivers still try to cross the railway, leading to collisions or even derailment.

The Vietnam Railway Corporation (VNR) plans to continue investing in repairing and adding signals at 200 crossings. It also sent a document to the Ministry of Transport to propose the Prime Minister extend the time for upgrading and installing automatic warning signals at 566 other crossings to the end of 2025.

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