The US$886 million project was initially slated to begin operation in 2016 but multiple setbacks pushed the date for launching to the end of 2019’s first quarter.
Cat Linh – Ha Dong Railway delays commercial run once more. Photo: Ngoc Hai
Earlier, China Railway Sixth Group, which is the Engineering-Procurement and Construction (EPC) contractor of the project, conducted the test of Cat Linh – Ha Dong Railway from October 2018, saying they would put it into commercial run after three or six months, or before the Tet holiday, which fell in early February.
In February, the EPC General Contractor once more said that they expected to complete the trial run and the official launch would be conducted at the end of the first quarter of 2019.
In the mid-March check, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The requested the EPC contractor and related units to complete the remaining workload to put the trains into operation in late April 2019. Until now, it cannot be confirmed when the Cat Linh – Ha Dong line will enter operation.
According to an official of the Railway Project Management Board under the Ministry of Transport, the project still encounters numerous difficulties and obstacles and is not eligible for commercial run.
“The EPC contractor lacks experience in implementing projects, fails to assigned well-qualified personnel, and delays completion for documents of all kinds. Although the Railway Project Management Board pushes them drastically and removes obstacles, the general contractor has still been unable to complete the documents,” the official was quoted by Kinh te Do thi newspaper as saying.
Besides, after finishing the test, the railway will be appraised by the Vietnam Register and an independent unit of France. Then, it will be handed over to Hanoi city for management, which means the operation of the railway will not be seen any time soon.
The Cat Linh – Ha Dong line is one of the key public transport projects in Hanoi. Since September 2018, all 13 trains have been tested, with the average speed of 35 km/hour. The railway is 13.5km length and uses standard-gauge rail track (1,435mm). The designed speed of the track reaches 80km/h.
Hanoi Railway Company also said that it has submitted to the Hanoi People’s Committee two options for Cat Linh – Ha Dong railway’s ticket pricing. Accordingly, monthly travel pass pricing is VND200,000 (US$8.6), 24-hour card is priced at VND30,000 (US$1.29) and VND8,000 (US$ 0.344) per person for a ride. Ticket prices will vary depending on the distance.
According to the plan, in the first days, Cat Linh – Ha Dong line will provide free service for passengers, with an aim to lure people to public transport.
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