China finances research study for Lao Cai – Hanoi – Hai Phong railway project
The total investment capital of the project is estimated at VND100 trillion (US$4.3 billion).
The Chinese government has provided non-refundable aid for Vietnam worth over VND32 billion (US$1.37 million) to conduct a survey and a master plan for the Lao Cai – Hai Phong – Hanoi railway project connecting with China, according to the Ministry of Transport (MoT).
The financial support was a result of high level talks between the two countries in 2015, stated the MoT in a statement.
As of present, the Beijing-based China Railway Fifth Survey and Design Institute Group, the consultant of the project, has completed the master plan for the whole railway route with length of 392 kilometers and 39 stations, capable of carrying both passengers and cargo.
The result of the research study would be reviewed by the Vietnam Railway Authority and incorporated in the master plan of Vietnam’s railway network until 2030, with vision to 2050, which is subject to the Vietnamese prime minister's approval.
Vice Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong said the consultant estimated the total investment capital of the project at VND100 trillion (US$4.3 billion), including the construction of new rail tracks with a global standard gauge of 1,435 millimeters, instead of using the existing 1,000-millimeter rail tracks.
As a result, the existing rail route Hanoi – Lao Cai with 1,000-millimeter rail tracks would no longer be used after the completion of the project.
According to the MoT, the Chinese consultant is finalizing the final report of the study. The project is subject to approval by Vietnam’s National Assembly.
During the process of pre-feasibility study, the project would be subjected to broad consultation with the public, experts, government agencies, and related provinces/cities, as well as to the possibility of capital mobilization.
With transportation capacity of 10 million tons per year, the project is designed to go through eight provinces/cities of Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Phu Tho, Vinh Phuc, Hanoi, Hung Yen, Hai Duong and Hai Phong. The railway will run across 73 bridges with a total length of over 130 kilometers. Alongside the railway project, 96 bridges, 25 tunnels and 29 train stations will be built.
The existing railway running from Lao Cai to Hai Phong allows an average speed of 50 kilometers per hour and a maximum speed of 80 kilometers per hour.
The proposed railway project, however, has faced protest from Vietnamese netizens and experts, saying that it would be a waste and benefit the Chinese side more than the Vietnamese one.
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