Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Transport has proposed that the government invite investment from the private sector to complete the Yên Viên-Hạ Long-Cái Lân railway project.
The project, which commenced in 2004 with an initial investment of VNĐ7.7 trillion (US$3.39 billion), aims to connect Yên Viên station in Hà Nội with Cái Lân station in the northern province of Quảng Ninh. It has been designed to shorten the rail route between the capital city and the province by 37km from the current 168km, and thus reduce the travel time to between two and two-and-a-half hours.
Khương Thế Duy, deputy director of Việt Nam Railway Authority, said around VNĐ4.3 trillion of the initial VNĐ7.7 trillion has been disbursed. Work on the route came to a halt in 2011 because of insufficient capital. To restart the project, another VNĐ6 trillion is needed, he said.
“At present, the government is gathering opinions from ministries and relevant agencies on how to restart the project. After the prime minister makes his decision, the ministry will propose specific mechanisms to attract investors,” he said.
Cái Lân station already has seven lines, as well as a warehouse and container area. However, it has not been used since 2014, station chief Nguyễn Đức Tân told Giao Thông (Transport) newspaper.
The station management has been doing routine maintenance of the tracks and the station infrastructure to minimise the degradation of facilities, Tân said.
Similarly, Hạ Long station in the province is serving only one train a day, with very few passengers.
Prior to 2014, the route between Cái Lân and Hạ Long stations used to serve dozens of goods trains transporting steel, but the lack of connectivity with other stations and incomplete infrastructure lengthened travel time and increased the cost for transportation, which has driven away traffic from this rail route, Duy said.
In March this year, during a meeting with the transport ministry, authorities from Quảng Ninh Province authorities suggested that the railway project be restarted to fully exploit the potential of rail transportation in the province and to attract freight transport to Quảng Ninh seaport.
The full potential of this seaport has also not been exploited in the past few years, partly because of the incomplete rail route. Meanwhile, seaports in the neighbouring city of Hải Phòng are over-burdened. — VNS