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Bridge collapse strands trains, disrupts north-south traffic

Update: March, 22/2016 - 14:30
The accident at Ghềnh Railway Bridge in Đồng Nai Province has stranded several trains at the Sài Gòn Railway Station, and stopped others coming in from the Northern and Central regions at the Biên Hòa Railway Station.— VNA/VNS Photo Mạnh Linh

HCM CITY (VNS) — The collapse of the Ghềnh Railway Bridge in Đồng Nai Province after a barge collided with it on Sunday has virtually cut off the main rail link between the south and north of the country.

The collision sent the middle span and three pillars of the bridge tumbling into the water. The barge capsized.

The accident has stranded several trains at the Sài Gòn Railway Station, and stopped others coming in from the Northern and Central regions at the Biên Hòa Railway Station in Đồng Nai.

According to Việt Nam Railway Corporation, right after the bridge collapsed on Sunday, 18 trains scheduled to run in both directions were affected.  Officials said 1,400 passengers had to be taken to Biên Hòa from Sài Gòn Station and 1,500 other brought the other way around using shuttle buses.

Hundreds other passengers decided to cancel their tickets and choose other forms of transportation. For now, the train services on this section have been suspended. The Sài Gòn Railway Station has also announced that it has stopped accepting cargo consignments from today.

Đỗ Đình Dược, deputy general director of the Sài Gòn Transport Company, said the company’s 11 wagons of cargo on its way to the North had to stop in Đồng Nai after the accident.

Several consigners came to the site to unload their cargos, he said.        

Given the serious impacts on the North-South rail route, the Transport Ministry and local governments are seeking solutions to limit the damage caused by the accident.

Deputy Transport Minister Nguyễn Ngọc Đông visited the accident site and said the Ministry would direct the Việt Nam Railway Company to create an operation schedule between Biên Hòa City and the northern region.

“The consequences of the accident are huge. The Transport Ministry will ask subordinate agencies to come up with solutions for salvaging the bridge’s pillars and spans, as also for restoration work. It should take about three to five months to complete,” Đông said.

Following up on the accident, police in Đồng Nai Province said they had completed procedures to commence criminal proceedings. 

 Nguyễn Văn Thọ, head of the staff bureau of the Đồng Nai Province’s Police Department, said that the barge crew would be sued for violating water traffic regulations and causing serious consequences. 

“We will send documents to the Đồng Nai People’s Procuracy to complete the procedures. The first priority is to correct consequences of the railway bridge collapse,” Thọ said.

The Ghềnh Bridge linking two banks of Đồng Nai River was built by the colonial French administration early in the 20th century. — VNS

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