|A railroad crossing on Khâm Thiên Street, Hà Nội. VNR aims to enhance safety at crossing points in 2019. — VNA/VNS Photo Trọng Đạt|
HÀ NỘI — Vietnam Railway (VNR) aims to accelerate its growth to a rate of 8 per cent in 2019 after suffering depression from 2015 to 2017.
The corporation also plans to utilise the VNĐ7 trillion (US$300 million) in funding approved by the National Assembly in September last year to upgrade four railway infrastructure projects.
“In spite of the severe fall between 2015 and 2017, VNR started recovering in 2018,” said Vũ Anh Minh, head of the VNR Committee of Members. “We hope to sustain that momentum in 2019.”
Improvements in service quality will also be targeted as a part of VNR’s passenger-oriented strategies.
“We have built new trains which focus on offering genuine experiences and providing better services for tourists and passengers,” said Minh.
On January 10, 2018, six new five-star trains on the Reunification route connecting Hà Nội and HCM City were launched. Passengers on these trains are offered hot meals prepared by Southern Airports Services Joint Stock Company.
A meal worth about VNĐ30,000 ($1.30) is including with a ticket, and the ticket price remains unchanged.
According to a VNR report, its total revenue in 2018 was some VNĐ8.3 trillion ($356 million), marking an increase of 1.9 per cent. The Average monthly income of its workers, therefore, was lifted 2.9 per cent to reach VNĐ8.46 million ($363).
Last year, the corporation witnessed two important turning points. The revised Law on Railways went into effect in January and VNR was transferred from the Ministry of Transport to the State Capital Management Committee.
These changes affect the corporation’s operation.
“The transfer creates opportunities, and at the same time poses challenges for VNR, especially in balancing the relationship between the three involved sides,” said Nguyễn Ngọc Đông, Deputy Minister of Transport. “While the committee only manages the state capital of VNĐ3.8 trillion ($163 million), the ministry is responsible for the railway system.”
He stressed corporate restructuring and separating infrastructure management, maintenance and business to improve transparency.
In 2018, some 120 VNR workers, including officials, were fined or suspended for matters related to severe crashes.
These actions followed repeated accidents due to ill management and poor warning systems at crossings.
For example, a collision between a truck and the SE19 Express Train crossing Thanh Hóa Province on May 24, 2018 killed two people and injured ten others. An officer and two employees in charge of ensuring safety at the crossing were detained for investigation.
Since June, 2018, VNR has piloted the operation of cameras at crossings to protect pedestrians and reduce accidents caused by railway staff. — VNS