Transport officials and experts agree that Vietnam must build new north-south express railways, while upgrading the old ones, in order to meet market demands.
At the conference about north-south railway development, director of Transport Investment and Construction Consultant Company, Do Van Hat, forecast that by 2020, the demand for rail freight will be 22,000 tons per day and the demand by 2040 and 2050 will be 80,000 tons and 105,000 tons per day respectively.
He further said that rail passenger demand in 2020 will also increase to 27,000 passengers per day. The demand by 2040 and 2050 will be 79,000 and 100,000 passengers per day respectively.
According to the head of the Vietnam Railway Authority, the competitiveness of the railway industry is poor because it has low productivity while the cost is as high as air freight. In addition, most of the infrastructure, including overpasses and underground railroads, have deteriorated. Not only are the stations located at wrong positions, but many sections of railroad run through residential areas.
All these shortcomings plus outdated light signals, have slowed down the speed and productivity of the trains.
“Overpasses and underground railroads will be upgraded. We will add more stations and improve the operating centre. At the same time, we’ll buy 67 new engines and 1.000 new cars.” Hat said.
Nguyen Dat Tuong, head of Vietnam Railways Corporation, said the speed must be around 80-90 km per hour so we can run at least 50 trips per day instead of the current 36 . Tuong hopes to build a new railroad that, in the future, can reach an average speed of up to 175-320 km per hour.
Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong agreed with the proposal to build new railroads while upgrading the old ones. Dong also said that they must carry out detailed research about priorities and measures before starting the project. For example, he said the sections from Hanoi to Vinh and from HCM City to Nha Trang should be attacked first.