|The Quang Ngai Railway management unit's workers maintain the North-South railway line. The Ministry of Transport has unveiled plans to lay eight broad-gauge railway tracks in the southern and south-central regions by 2020. — VNA/VNS Photo Thanh Long
HCM CITY (VNS)— The Ministry of Transport has unveiled plans to lay eight broad-gauge railway tracks in the southern and south-central regions by 2020.
The rails will measure 1.435 metres between the inner edges instead of the current one metre.
To be built mostly in and around HCM City, they are estimated to cost VND341 trillion (US$16.2 billion), and will be sourced from ODA loans, Government bonds, and the private sector besides public funds.
Nguyen Van Doanh, deputy chief of the Department of Railways, said the railway network and facilities would be improved in HCM City and its surrounding provinces.
The Southern Transport Engineering Design Incorporation, which drafted the comprehensive plan, said a total land area of 1,458 hectares would be needed for the project, including 508ha in HCM City, 377ha in Dong Nai Province, and 314ha in Binh Duong.
The department has urged localities to inform residents and relevant agencies about the land areas that would be acquired so that they would be prepared.
Passenger trains would travel above or below ground in the city centre, it said.
Dang Minh Hai, deputy director of the Southern Transport Engineering Design Incorporation, said the wider gauge would allow trains to run at a speed of at least 120 kilometres an hour.
The construction of the new rail would not affect the operation of the existing one-metre-gauge railway, he said.
All eight would have twin tracks for trains to run in both directions at the same time. The trains will run on electricity instead of diesel as they do now, causing less damage to the environment.
Hai said technology would be used to reduce the noise of trains and improve level crossing systems in residential areas.
The existing 2,000km of tracks, which were built more than 100 years ago by the French, have become decrepit and are in urgent need of upgrades and renovation.
It takes trains around 30 hours to cover the 1,726km between Ha Noi and HCM City. — VNS
Eight broad-gauge rail routes planned
1/ Trang Bom (Dong Nai) – Sai Gon Station (HCM City): 39km
Phase 1: Before 2020 a track will be laid from Sai Gon to Di An Station in Binh Duong (19.6km).
Phase 2: After 2020 it will be extended from Di An to Bien Hoa and Trang Bom (19.5km).
2/ HCM City – My Tho – Can Tho: 174km
An express rail section will be built from An Binh Station (Binh Duong) to HCM City and Tan An City in Long An Province (62km).
3/ HCM City – Nha Trang: 411km
The 32km section from Thu Thiem Station in District 2 to Binh Son Station (Dong Nai) will be an express rail route.
4/ HCM City – Tay Ninh: 139km
Before 2020 the route from Tan Chanh Hiep in District 12 to Tay Ninh (39.8km) will be completed.
5/ Di An – Loc Ninh: 128km
By 2020 a route from Di An Station to Chanh Luu in Binh Duong (31.9km) will be completed.
6/ Thu Thiem – Long Thanh International Aiport (Dong Nai):
To link Long Thanh Airport that is under construction.
7/ Long Dinh (Long An) – Hiep Phuoc Port (HCM City's Nha Be District):
For cargo trains between Long An and Hiep Phuoc Port in HCM City.
8/ Bien Hoa – Vung Tau: For transporting passengers and cargo from Bien Hoa (Dong Nai) to industrial parks and Cai Mep – Thi Vai seaport complex in Ba-Ria Vung Tau Province (54.6km).