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Jan 03, 2020 / 13:41

Hanoi’s first metro line must start running soon: Deputy PM

The deputy PM requested the general contractor to put the long-delayed Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway line into operation as soon as possible in 2020.

The general contractor of Hanoi’s first urban railway line must make sure that the project begins commercial operations soon, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said at a meeting of the Ministry of Transport on January 2, local media reported.

The deputy PM requested the general contractor to speed up the progress and complete all procedures in order to put the long-delayed Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway line into operation as soon as possible in 2020.

 Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro trains run on trial in Hanoi. Photo: Giang Huy

Dung stressed that the project needs to meet all safety standards before beginning operations, and the safety certificate must be approved before the trains can roll the wheels.

The order from the deputy PM came after months of reports that the first metro line in Vietnam is 1% away from completion, and the Chinese contractor, China Railway Sixth Group Ltd.Co., has not yet finished actual and administrative work to hand over the metro route to the Ministry of Transport.

Work on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line began in 2011 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2013. But several hurdles, including loan disbursement issues with China that were only resolved in December 2017, stalled it for years.

Project costs have more than doubled from the original VND8.8 trillion (US$377 million) to VND18 trillion (US$771 million), according to state auditors.

Why hasn't Cat Linh - Ha Dong railway started running?

On his inspection of the Cat Linh – Ha Dong railway three months ago, Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung questioned the Chinese general contractor about the long-delayed project and requested Transport Minister Nguyen Van The make it operational in 2019. However, the general contractor and the Ministry of Transport have failed to meet the request.

By the end of December 2019, the progress of the project was almost negligible. In the past three months, the French consultancy Apave-Certifier-Tricc (ACT) has completed a number of safety assessment reports but has not yet finished the 13 reports required for safety assessment.

According to Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong, the biggest obstacle is the lack documents to assess the system’s safety. The Chinese general contractor has not provided sufficient documents, especially documents related to certificates and proof of experiments in the production of the trains.