Vietnam Wants (again) to Develop its High Speed Train Network

Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong

In 2018 the Ministry of Transport will submit the trans-Vietnam high-speed railway project to the government, and if it is approved, several segments will be put into use before 2030.

Speaking to the National Assembly Standing Committee on September 12, Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong said the amended Railway Law will open a new chapter on the trans-Vietnam high-speed railway. According to VietNamNet, Dong explained that despite having the high speed rail network project rejected a first time by the National Assembly, a north-south high-speed rail route should be completed in 2050 following the Vietnam railway development plan, approved by the Prime Minister,

The government instructed the Ministry of Transport to conduct the pre-feasibility study of this project. In 2018 the Ministry will submit this project to the Government for evaluation and then to the National Assembly for approval before 2020.

The Saigon-Long Thanh will be the first segment under construction, followed by the Hanoi-Vinh route. After 2030, Hanoi-Danang and Saigon-Danang lines will follow. The entire network would be completed by 2050, Dong said.

Deputy Minister Dong added that many studies on the high-speed rail routes have been underway. For example, South Korea has helped Vietnam study the Hanoi-Vinh and Ho Chi Minh City-Can Tho routes while the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has assisted for research of the Hanoi-Vinh segment.

However many politicians expressed their concerns about the amount of requested investment and the viability of such a project. The National Assembly’s Science, Technology and Environment Committee agreed with the basic idea on this project but the agency asked the Ministry of Transport to clarify the funding and roadmap. Previous plans to develop the $56 billion high-speed railway have not been approved by NA due to cost.

In 2015 the government approved the development strategy for Vietnam’s railway transport to 2020 and vision to 2050, targeting the development of railway infrastructure and the high-level management of transport and services. Railways should in the future account for 1 to 2% of all passengers and even capture a market share of 4 to 5% in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Existing railway lines are to be upgraded, with priority given to modernizing the north-south line to increase the average speed to 80-90 km/h for passenger trains.