|The section of Cát Linh-Hà Đông urban railway project running on Nguyễn Trãi Street, Hà Nội on Saturday, during the 20-day trial run December 12-31. — VNA/VNS Photo Huy Hùng|
HÀ NỘI — The long-delayed Cát Linh-Hà Đông urban rail project, the first metro in Hà Nội, entered a 20-day whole-system trial run on Saturday.
At 5am on Saturday morning, the first train left Cát Linh station. Another train also left Yên Nghĩa station in the outlying district of Hà Đông at about the same time.
Nine trains of the project’s total of 13 are to be used in the trial, with the wait for a train at any station set at about 6-7 minutes, which might be shortened to 2-3 minutes during rush hours, according to the Hà Nội Metro One Member Company Limited (HMC).
There will be about 287 train trips per day, the company said.
Each train has four carriages and a capacity of 900 people, with a designed speed of 80km/h and a speed during commercial runs of about 35km/h.
The company said it has mobilised all of its 700 officials and workers and employees to work on the line during the trial, with safety, technical maintenance and security sectors staffed around the clock.
During December 12-31, the whole system will run as it would once commercially operational so the project’s contractor China Railway 6 Bureau Group and French consulting firm Apave-Certifier-Tricc consortium can assess the safety and precision of the system.
The trial runs will also be closely supervised by the State Council for Pre-Acceptance Test of Construction Works.
The Chinese contractor will help instruct the Vietnamese staff – who have already received training in China – to operate the project during trial runs, while the drivers can operate independently.
The trains will run non-stop from 5am to 11pm on the 13km urban rail line, with each stop lasting for 30 seconds to pick up and drop off passengers just like it would during commercial runs.
The whole trial is controlled via the Operation Control Centre (OCC) based at the Hà Đông depot, with the signals and information from the system streaming constantly back to the headquarters.
During the trial, the contractor will continue carrying out repairs where needed throughout the line.
If the system meets the requirements on safety and technical standards of the independent consultants, the investors will be certified to commercially operate in the first quarter of 2021.
Afterwards, the transport ministry will assess the project and if all goes well, the project will be handed over to Hà Nội People’s Committee for management and operations.
The Government last week allowed an extension of the completion deadline of the Cát Linh-Hà Đông project until March 2021 and extension for withdrawing the additional loan worth 1.598 billion Chinese yuan (US$50 million) at the request of the Vietnamese transport ministry.
The project commenced in October 2011, with investment capital of about VNĐ18 trillion from China’s Official Development Assistance to Việt Nam via a framework agreement signed on May 30, 2008, between the two governments.
The project was set to be finished in late 2017 but has been delayed several times. — VNS