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Japanese push high-speed rail

Update: September, 18/2012 - 10:16

HCM CITY (VNS)— Viet Nam should start building a North-South high-speed railway by 2030, according to a Japanese expert who spoke at a conference held yesterday in HCM City on high-speed railway development.

Dr Iwata Shizuo of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) said that, "because the railway's cost would be about 50 per cent of Viet Nam's current GDP, construction should begin by 2030, when a higher GDP is expected."

Dr Shizuo, head of the JICA investigation group for high-speed railway system development, told the conference that it was critical to have the system to reduce the expected overload on roadways and airways by that time.

He said the current railway needed to be upgraded as well.

"If the country begins work on a high-speed railway, the single railway system would need upgrading so that 50 trains a day could operate from both directions," he added.

However, even with an upgrade, the current railway could not be converted to a high-speed railway, which will have to be built separately.

Another JICA expert said that a high-speed railway system would also reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

JICA experts said it was necessary to conduct a thorough examination of how rice cultivation would be affected by construction of the railway. Also, the locations of stations in areas that needed an economic lift would be helpful, they said, adding that the connectivity to the current railway, roadway and airway facilities was another issue that should be investigated.

The experts said that additional investigations would be conducted on the topographical and meteo-hydrological conditions of localities such as central Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan provinces.

A focus on connecting the railway system and the to-be-built Long Thanh International Airport in southern Dong Nai Province should also be included in the plan.

Tran Quoc Dong, deputy general director of Viet Nam Railway Corporation, said the railway sector expected to first build a high-speed railway on two routes, Ha Noi – Vinh and Nha Trang – HCM City.

The North-South high-speed railway would have stations in 11 provinces, including Ha Noi and northern Ha Nam Province; central Nghe An, Ninh Thuan and Khanh Hoa Provinces; and southern Dong Nai Province and HCM City.

The conference yesterday involved participants from provinces that would have railway stations located in their areas. — VNS

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