|The National Assembly (NA) will decide the fate of a future high-speed railway in Việt Nam in 2019 after the transport ministry completes a project report, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said this week. — VNA/VNS Photo Văn Điệp|
HÀ NỘI — The National Assembly (NA) will decide the fate of a future high-speed railway in Việt Nam in 2019 after the transport ministry completes a project report, Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc said this week.
In response to a question posed by Bình Định Province NA deputy Lê Công Nhường on when the Ministry of Transport would finally submit its plan on a north-south high speed railway (HSR) to the NA for consideration, PM Phúc said that it would take two years for the ministry to complete the work.
Although the 12th NA had previously refused to vote on investment in HSR, the possibility of a Việt Nam bullet train keeps re-emerging due to pressure on the crippled existing railway system.
The railways are said to be falling far behind land and air transport in terms of both passenger and goods transport capabilities.
Rail transport accounts for about one per cent of national passenger transport and less than one per cent of goods deliveries.
The reason for such disappointing performance is believed to be the limited speed and efficiency of the railways. About 83 per cent of rail tracks and 100 per cent of north-south tracks have century-old narrow gauge of 1,000mm.
The developmental plan of a HSR was officially included in the adjustments to the Việt Nam Rail Transport Development Strategy until 2020 and the Việt Nam Rail Transport Development Master Plan until 2020. Both were signed by Phúc in 2015.
According to the Government, a north-south HSR, connecting Hà Nội and HCM City, is planned in four major stages.
The transport ministry will build up plan for a HSR having a standard track gauge of 1,435mm and prepare to first build rail sections in great demand, for example the Hà Nội-Vinh (Nghệ An Province) and HCM City-Nha Trang (Khánh Hòa Province) routes.
During a 10-year period, from 2020 to 2030, the construction of different sections will begin with train operating speeds ranging from 160km per hour to less than 200km per hour.
The north-south HSR route is due to completed in 2050. After then it is hoped the train can run at a maximum speed of 350km per hour, roughly the same as Japan’s shinkansen.
Transport deputy minister Nguyễn Nhật said that the ministry had so far mapped up detailed routes of a HSR.
“The transport ministry aims to submit a project report to the Government in 2019-2020 to complete the HSR construction in 2030. After that, even the north-south express roadways will become overloaded,” he added. — VNS