In a letter sent to municipal authorities, the MoT said too many cafés had been opened close to the tracks, posing a high risk of accidents.
Statistics from the Vietnam Railway Authority showed that in September only, 24 accidents occurred on railway lines, an increase of 40 per cent compared with the same period last year. Nine people were killed in these accidents.
MoT leaders said that people liked to sit by the tracks to drink, eat and take photos.
The MoT has instructed Hoàn Kiếm, Ba Đình, Đống Đa and Hai Bà Trưng districts to take measures to manage cafés shops along the railway line. — VNS
People gather along the railway line to take photos of a train. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Anh
Café owners on railway streets said they do all they can to make sure the area is safe – and they say they are not aware of any accidents in the area.
Lê Tuấn Anh, who has ran a café for a year close to Điện Biên Phủ Street, said: “I think the government should find a smart solution to balance between promoting tourist activities and improve people’s living income. People like me, for example.
“I have been doing business here for a year, and also with other cafés around this area, there has never been an accident occurred.
“There might be accidents somewhere else that I don’t know of, but here there is none. Of course, when we provide services to customers, we know the train schedule very well, and make sure the customer is safe when the trains pass.”
Fellow café owner Đỗ Minh Tuấn said the railway street is vital to Hà Nội’s tourism economy.
“In other countries, trains move fast, therefore they can’t sit near the train,” Tuấn said.
“The railway street here is not only at the center of Hà Nội, but the trains also move at a slow pace, which makes it possible for tourists to sit nearby.
“The trains here only run non-stop on Saturday and Sunday.”
Dutch visitor Albertine Steendam Visser said she feels while it would be a shame to lose the cafés, safety must be a priority.
She said: “I think it’s an amazing place. Nice colours, nice people, nice coffee as well, nice places that you can sit here, look at the view, hopefully there’s a train coming by. It’s a very nice place.
“I think that will be a pity (to close it down), because it’s so nice, there’re so many people that are coming here. It’s an attraction, people love to come here. But I think if it’s not safe, then I can kind of understand that they have to close it. But it would be a pity.” — VNS
Watch our video about the Hanoians who live close to the railway line: