Hà Nội wants to extend the long-delayed Cát Linh-Hà Đông urban rail line

Update: October, 25/2019 - 09:00
Trains on Cát Linh-Hà Đông urban rail line in Hà Nội during a trial run. VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Transport has submitted a proposal to extend the urban railway network in Hà Nội, including the long-delayed Cát Linh-Hà Đông urban rail line, which still has no concrete date to start operating.

In a report on the railway transport development policy and public investment to the National Assembly signed by transport minister Nguyễn Văn Thể, the Cát Linh-Hà Đông elevated railway, or line No 2A, will be lengthened by 20km from the last stop in Hà Đông District to the surburban Xuân Mai Township in Chương Mỹ District.

It will have a depot for a maintenance facility in Xuân Mai, besides the 12 stations in the original planned route, according to the report.

The news of further investment into the train line broke on Tuesday and sparked controversy among Hanoians, who have run out of patience with the line in question. So far, it has a cost overrun reaching up to hundreds of millions of dollars and no opening date has been confirmed.

Transport minister Thể denied the ministry came up with the line extension in a brief interview with reporters on the sideline of the National Assembly’s meeting on the same day.

“The Ministry of Transport didn’t propose to lengthen the Cát Linh-Hà Đông line towards Xuân Mai. Neither did the ministry have any discussion on the project,” he told reporters.

Hà Nội authorities were mapping out the planning for the urban railway network, while the ministry only collected the transport development plans from localities and made a comprehensive report to the National Assembly, Thể added.

Apart from the controversial Cát Linh-Hà Đông line, Hà Nội also plans to build longer train lines to fully connect the capital city to its neighbouring satellite towns.

Railway line No 2 linking Nội Bài International Airport and Hoàng Quốc Việt Road will be extended by a 9km section between Nội Bài and Trung Giã in Sóc Sơn District. Line No 3, initially running from Nhổn area to Mai Dịch, will have more than 30km of railway added with a depot in the satellite town Sơn Tây.

According to Hà Nội’s planning, the city will have a total of eight train lines stretching more than 305km.

In the report by the transport ministry, HCM City, where metro projects are also ongoing, will have eight lines running across and around the city to connect main downtown areas. The total length of the metro system is estimated at 173km.

The southern hub is looking to have another three lines of tramway and monorail running for approximately 57km.

Hà Nội and HCM City have already spent nearly VNĐ30 trillion (US$1.3 billion) on urban railway projects, according to the report. The capital city allocated some VNĐ12.7 trillion to invest in its first two lines of No 2 and 3 while HCM City prepared to pour more than VNĐ17 trillion into metro lines No 1 of Bến Thành-Suối Tiên and No 2 of Bến Thành-Tham Lương.

Those two metro routes, which were started around the same time as the notorious Cát Linh-Hà Đông line, have shared the same fate as it. They are both seriously behind schedule and had their costs overrun hugely. — VNS