|A design of the proposed HCM City-Cần Thơ express rail route. Photo courtesy of the Southern Institute for Science and Technology|
HCM CITY — The Ministry of Transport has instructed the Railway Project Management Board to do a pre-feasibility study for the high-speed HCMC-Cần Thơ railway by 2022.
Recently the Southern Institute of Science and Technology (PNSTI), which is in charge of the project, submitted to the HCM City People’s Committee and the Ministry of Transport recommendations for the project after seven years of studies.
It will run along the HCM City-Trung Lương and Trung Lương-Mỹ Thuận expressways instead of passing through crowded residential areas and industrial parks to reduce the difficulties related to acquiring lands and cost.
The route will be 140km long, start at Tân Kiên Station in HCM City, pass through the provinces of Long An, Tiền Giang and Vĩnh Long and end at Cái Răng Station in Cần Thơ City. It will have nine stations.
Passenger trains will run at 200km per hour and freight trains at 120km.
It will enable people to travel between Cần Thơ and HCM City in just 45 minutes while it takes three hours by road now.
It will reduce the cost of transporting goods from the Mekong Delta to ports in HCM City and Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu and improve the competitiveness of the country’s exports.
According to PNSTI the project has attracted interest from more than 20 international investors in the US, Europe and elsewhere. It is expected to cost US$10 billion.
According to the Japan International Cooperation Agency, by 2030 the volume of passenger and freight traffic between HCM City and Cần Thơ will increase by 4.8 and three times compared to 2008.
HCM City is the centre of the southern key economic region while Cần Thơ is its Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta counterpart.
The rail link is expected to have a positive impact on the socio-economic development of the two cities as well as provinces such as Long An, Tiền Giang and Vĩnh Long.
It is included in a master plan that comprises five high-speed rail links between HCM City and provinces to ensure smooth transport of goods and improve logistics services and links between major ports.
The others are to Tây Ninh Province, Long Thành International Airport in Đồng Nai Province, Nha Trang City in Khánh Hòa Province, and Long An Province's international port. — VNS