Ministry to restore run-down railroad
The Ministry of Transport and Viet Nam Railway Corporation has approved the restoration of the 84 km Thap Cham – Da Lat railway route.
The VND5 trillion (US$312.5 million) plan will be submitted to the Government for approval, with the work scheduled to be completed in 2015.
Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourer)
Urban railway board established to realize HCMC subway
The Ho Chi Minh City Board of Urban Railway Administration has been established to oversee the southern hub’s several billion dollar subway-tram projects.
The city People’s Committee Chairman, Le Hoang Quan signed the decision to found the board late last week.
The moves comes in line with Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s plan to build six subway lines and three above-ground tram routes in the city by 2020.
One route alone, the Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien line, is slated to cost $1.09 billion.
Construction is expected to begin on said line – Vietnam’s first – late this year and be completed by 2013.
FS for railway project completed
15:38' 18/09/2007 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge – A consortium of Chinese companies has passed to the Vietnam Railway Administration the feasibility study (FS) for a project to develop a new railway connecting HCMC and Loc Ninh of neighbouring Binh Phuoc Province.
Vu Xuan Hong, head of the administration, said the Saigon-Loc Ninh railway is part of a development strategy for the country's rail network by 2020.
The study has been done under an arrangement in which the administration and the consortium, which comprises China National Machinery Imp. & Exp. Corp. (CMC) and China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC), will seek loans from international institutions for the project.
The 128-km line with 12 stations is planned to start from the junction of the north-south railway at Di An Station and link to Loc Ninh township of Binh Phuoc, which borders Cambodia.
The line will be part of the Vietnam section of the planned trans-ASEAN rail network starting in Singapore and ending in China's Kunming.
Chinese experts put the cost of the Saigon-Loc Ninh railway at US$438mil.
Given the important role of the project, the transport ministry named the Railway Administration as the developer of the Saigon-Loc Ninh section in 2004. Almost all of the surveys and reports needed have been completed.
The biggest issue is how to mobilize funds for the project. An official of the transport ministry said Vietnam could not arrange the capital for the project on its own.
Therefore, the railway administration signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with CMC late last year to join forces in mobilizing funds for the project. After that CMC cooperated with CRCC to do the feasibility study.
The ministry has been working with international institutions and donors to seek ODA for the railway project and work on the project is scheduled to start in 2010.
1928 Thap Cham-Da Lat Railway returns
07:38' 07/10/2007 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge - The Government has agreed to restore the Thap Cham-Da Lat Railway, one of the unique mountain railways around the world.
Opened in 1928, the 84 km Thap Cham-Da Lat Railway linking the Central Highlands city of Da Lat with the coastal areas in central provinces was closed shortly after due to the lack of economic efficiency.
Currently, 7 km of the route, from Da Lat to Trai Mat, are put into use to serve tourists. There are four trains operational daily, providing services to hundreds of tourists.
The Government also allowed the private sector to take part in the re-construction of the railway, as the entire railway will be restored to its original state.
National railway abandons monopoly, prospers
13:20' 15/10/2007 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge – Viet Nam National Railways revenue has tripled since it abandoned its monopoly to ally with other companies, reports its business director Nguyen Huu Tuyen.
Locomotive D19E is inspected by the Gia Lam Railway Co.
"Many member companies are very happy with the new model," he says.
Transport Service and Rail Trade Company director Tran Quoc Viet concurs.
"My company's revenue has doubled since it signed a package deal for a north-south train with Viet National Railways," he says.
But more importantly we have won a reputation for the punctuality of our trains among our clients."
The national railway piloted the new model of chartering an entire cargo train about three years ago.
The decision brought an immediate increase in both cargo volume and revenue.
Last year, the railway carried almost 9.4mil tonnes of cargo.
In the first eight months of this year, the figure was close to 7mil tonnes with revenue of VND382bil ($23.8mil).
When it held the monopoly, hundreds of its cargo trains and thousands of tonnes of prospective cargo stood idle in sidings while near empty passenger carriages plied Vietnam generating heavy costs and little returning.
As part of a Socialist market economy, the national railway realised that it would have to change and decided to lease an entire train, instead of leasing only wagons as it had done in the past.
It has now applied its 2004 north-south model to a variety of routes.
Last year, it sold the Sai Gon Railway company three weekly trains at VND145mil for each 15-wagon return-journey from Song Than in southern Binh Duong to Hanoi's Giap Bat terminal.
A year later, it signed contracts with four other partners for 13 return journeys of north-south trains.
The national railway's decision to abandon its monopoly has sparked real competition in the carrying of cargo by rail, road and water.
Its Director General Nguyen Huu Bang says: "We have learned a lot from the model. We'll continue to renew ourselves with a hope to regain the market shares which had been lost to our rivals."
But ageing rolling stock is a major threat to progress.
Between 3,000 of the railway's 5,000 wagons have been in service for 40-50 years and are "too old to work." The remaining 2,000 wagons are not too flash either.
VNR acquires about 300 new wagons each year, says Director General Nguyen Huu Bang.
"Such a number is too small to meet the rapid increase in demand for rail transport.
"The VNR must find a solution or it will be defeated by other transport services."
(Source: Viet Nam News)
Gov’t okays Thap Cham-Da Lat railway project
11:41' 16/10/2007 (GMT+7)
Da Lat Train Station in the old days (File photo/FULKA)
VietNamNet Bridge - The government has agreed to inject VND5,000 billion (about US$312 million) into a project restoring the Thap Cham-Da Lat railway system, one of the unique mountain railways in the world.
The 84 km long railway linking Phan Rang-Thap Cham city in Ninh Thuan Province and Da Lat city in Lam Dong province will be restored from 2007 to 2015.
The French-built railway was opened in 1928. But this line was destroyed in the war and abandoned in the late 1960s. Seven kilometres of the track between Da Lat and Trai Mat has been reconstructed and operated for tourism purpose since 1997. Currently, the station is one of the attractive tourist destinations in Da Lat.
The Da Lat railway station was recognized as a national historical and cultural site in 2001. And it was also considered the nicest ancient railway station in all Indochina.
The government also allowed the private sector to take part in the re-construction of the railway, as the entire railway will be restored to its original state.
Once finished, the railway is expected to boost tourism in Lam Dong, Ninh Thuan as well as coastal central provinces.
Traffic and transport plan outlined
An urban railway system and two express bus routes will cater to the transport needs of 2.6 million people in the capital.
HA NOI — Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai asserted the Government’s dedication to develop a much-needed modern transportation system that meets global expectations and standards, during his discussion with Ha Noi transport officials and the People’s Committee on Saturday.
"Priority must be given to preserve landscape and traditional urban space when developing Ha Noi’s traffic and transport system," he said.
A report released by the Ministry of Transport and the People’s Committee says the area needed for transportation facilities will account for at least 15 per cent of the city.
It also says the current eight highways will be broadened to four or six lanes. Other major changes to the system include construction of four metropolitan belt roads with a total length of about 290 km, 12 bridges across the Red River and traffic knot extensions.
The new urban railway project will initially focus on the construction of four routes and when combined with the development of two express bus routes, both are expected to transport 2.6 million people daily.
The development of a public transit system that meets between 35 and 40 per cent of daily demand is the primary goal.
Ha Noi’s total investment into transportation projects is estimated at about VND208,954 billion (US$13 billion).
The HCM trail
Hai met with Ministry of Transport officials and the HCM City People’s Committee on Thursday to discuss the city’s traffic plan through 2020.
Following the Prime Minister’s directions in Decision No 101, city officials presented their zoning scheme for the metropolitan area’s roads, railroads and waterway systems.
The traffic restructuring plan for HCM City and adjacent areas will cover an area 30 to 50 km in radius.
Major changes to the road system include laying down major intra-city streets, four metropolitan beltway roads, four overpasses, 14 bridges, a tunnel through Sai Gon River and a car park system.
The railroad project will focus on construction of the North–South railway, lines connecting HCM City to Vung Tau, Cambodia and Nha Trang, six subway routes and three monorail routes.
The city has no plans to build new ports on the Sai Gon River but instead will upgrade the existing Cat Lai and Nha Be ports.
Officials estimate the total investment capital needed for all these projects will be VND223,000 billion ($13.9 billion).
The specific routes, rates of progress, funding sources and required manpower were not spelled out, but officials promised to have the details soon.
The Deputy Prime Minister remarked that the traffic-zoning scheme should incorporate the needs of the existing urban zoning layout and the general zoning of the whole city.
It would require a major undertaking to mobilise the necessary funds to restructure the city’s transportation system, Hai said, and the city would have to be creative in doing so.
The transportation department and local officials also will have to mobilise enough labour power. The city needs to have a clear strategy when choosing developers for the projects, he said.
The Ministry will put a proposal forward at the national level for a list of important projects, detailing what they will be used for and how much funding they will require.
The Ministry of Transportation reported on the progress of major projects involving HCM City, such as National Highways 50, 1K, 22, 22B and 13 and expressways from the city to Can Tho, Dong Nai, Lam Dong and Tan Son Nhat Airport. — VNS
Japan agency helps Government develop new railway regulations
Ha Noi — The Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) has helped Viet Nam create The Set of National Technical Railway Regulations and Standards in an effort to modernise the railway systems within Viet Nam.
The National Technical Railway Regulation and Standard Study was signed yesterday by representatives of the Science and Technology Department, the Ministry of Transport, the Viet Nam Railway Administration (VNRA) and JICA.
The objectives of the study are to establish technical regulations for the national railway, to establish a set of national standards for urban railways and to transfer technologies and skills to personnel involved in the study. The study will tentatively last for 15 months, beginning in February 2008.
After more than 125 years of development, the Viet Nam Railway, specifically the urban rails, is faced with the need to modernise. Many construction projects for new, modern railway lines, in an effort to meet the increasing demands of large urban areas, are in the planning stages. For the construction and operation of modern railway lines that are quick, convenient, safe and consistent, a set of national railway regulations and standards is essential.
According to the VNRA, after being approved, these regulations and standards will be applied nationwide to urban railway projects. It will be a milestone in the history of the Viet Nam Railway – for the first time ever, Viet Nam will have a railway regulation and standard that is comparable to those of other developed countries around the world. — VNS
Scomi Rail to send final plan for Hanoi project
By B.K. SIDHU
PETALING JAYA: Scomi Rail Bhd, a unit of Scomi Engineering Bhd, has been given exclusive rights by the People’s Community of Hanoi City to submit a final proposal with costs for the development of a more than RM1bil monorail project, sources said.
The plan involves Scomi proposing the design, engineering and construction plans for track alignment and the trains, besides the final costing for the entire project.
Scomi has about 60 days to make its final submission. The company is believed to be working furiously to submit the final proposal for the development of the 23km monorail. The sources said Scomi would work with a Vietnamese consortium on the operation side.
The company's initial presentation was made to the authorities in Hanoi mid this year. It is unclear if Scomi would be able to secure the contract but it remains hopeful, as it wants to become a sizeable player in the mushrooming monorail business.
It has so far submitted bids to supply over 300 trains to several countries, including India (where it is looking to build about 50km of tracks), Syria, Mauritius, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Thailand. It is also in talks to supply 30 sets of trains for the 36.7km Medina lines.
It is learnt that the company had on Tuesday submitted its bid together with partner, Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd, for the Penang monorail project.
Come Nov 26, the company is also set to launch its second-generation monorail in Kuala Lumpur. The monorail is able to accommodate more passengers in each car, thereby increasing the capacity so as to be closer to that of light rail transit (LRT) systems.
Scomi Engineering has its own technology in the monorail business and it also supplies electrical and mechanical systems for any type of monorail.
Earlier this month, it was reported that Scomi had secured a RM121.8mil contract to upgrade the wayside electrical and mechanical systems for Putra LRT’s fleet expansion project for the Kelana Jaya line.
Hanoi, French firm ink consultant deal for railway project
Hanoi authorities and France’s International Consulting Engineers for Rail and Urban Transport (Systra) signed a US$48.8-million consultation contract Thursday to build a railway route in Hanoi.
Under the contract, the French company will provide the design for the route, supervision of the construction and required facilities among others.
The route from the suburban Nhon area to the centre of Hanoi will run 12.5 km, with 9.6 km running overhead and 2.9 km running underground.
It will have 15 stations, a 15-ha maintenance centre in Tu Liem District and will be able to transport up to 9,000 passengers per hour.
The project invested at $757 million, $414.4 million of which funded by the French government, is scheduled for completion in 2010.
November 26, 2007 10:16 AM
US$160 Million To Upgrade Vietnam's Busiest Railway Section
HANOI, Nov 26 (Bernama) -- Some US$160 million will be earmarked for a project to upgrade Vietnam's busiest railway section linking the Yen Vien station, in outskirts of Hanoi, to northern border Lao Cai province, Vietnam News Agency (VNA) quoted the Viet Nam Railway Corporation as saying.
To the figure, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the French Development Agency and the French General Directorate of Treasury and Economic Policy (DGTPE) will contribute US$60 million, US$41 million and US$39 million, respectively, as official development assistance (ODA) capital.
The remaining will come from Vietnam.
According to the Railway Corporation, the 285 km section is part of the railway route connecting Vietnam's Hai Phong port with China's Yunnan province, and also part of the extended traffic network of the Mekong subregion and the Singapore-Kunming (China) railway route that are expected to be completed by 2015.
The upgrading of the more-than-100-year-old section, which sees 20-22 train trips everyday, aims to increase its capacity to 5 million passengers and 7.5 million tonnes of cargo per year by 2020.
The project will start in 2008 to improve 71 bridges, stations, stores and road-bed and build new stations, and will be completed by 2012.
Wholly owned by the Vietnamese government, Vietnam Railways maintains a communication network that is supported by the Army Telecom's SDH backbone. Vietnam Railways has selected the Multiservice Access Platform (MAP) from RAD Data Communications to provide voice and data services over an existing SDH backbone at Vietnam's eight busiest rail stations. RAD's Megaplex-2100 and DXC-8R were installed at Vietnam Railways' eight busiest train stations. They currently transmit voice, timetables and ticketing information, and will eventually carry multimedia services such as videoconferencing.
Only the project
I'm working for Vietnam Railways and I've ever served for Summit of ASIAN CEO (Railways) and see that only project.
Unfortnately there are lots of English language press reports of proposals in Vietnam, but very little actually tells of things that are happening rather than proposed.
If you can kelp out.lease do so.
Japanese ODA oked for Yen Vien-Ngoc Hoi sky railway
VNECONOMY updated: 14/12/2007
The Prime Minister has agreed to use the Japanese Official Development Assistance for technical design of the Gia Lam-Giap Bat sky railway in Ha Noi.
The 18 trillion VND railway route is part of a 27 trillion VND project to build an overhead railway linking Ngoc Hoi in the south of Ha Noi and Yen Vien to the east. Construction of the Gia Lam-Giap Bat section is scheduled for 2008-2016.
The 8.9 trillion VND second phase of the project, to be completed by 2020, will build the remaining Giap Bat-Ngoc Hoi and Gia Lam-Yen Vien sections.
The 25 km-long elevated railway will have a static height of between 5-8m to 12m on average.
It consists of two pairs of tracks of 1,435mm and 1,000mm gauge.
Railway of VN told to speed up North-South mega-rail project
17:11' 28/12/2007 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge – Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai asked Railway of Viet Nam yesterday to speed up preparations for the new high-speed North-South railway, pledging that further State funds would be made available if required.
Speaking at the year-end review meeting with the corporation's bosses, Hai said the project should be given top priority and assured the company that if there were delays in funding the Government would provide financial assistance.
Despite the urgency of the project however, the Deputy PM said Railway of Viet Nam should ensure that quality was not compromised. He also said the company should invite bids from outside consultants, instead of appointing a service provider as previously planned.
Railway of Viet Nam's general director, Nguyen Huu Bang, said the company's turn-over in the last fiscal year was VND3,000 bil (US$187.5 mil), a year-on-year increase of 14.3%.
The company has suggested three ways to improve the national rail network. Under the first solution, the existing Thong Nhat line would be upgraded for high-speed trains. Although cost effective, VRC said north-south journey times would not be drastically cut.
VRC's second proposal was to upgrade the Thong Nhat railway - in addition to building a new network.
The third proposal, considered the most feasible, is to build a completely new Hanoi - HCM City high-speed line, independent of the Thong Nhat line.
Bang said the route would be 1,630 km - 100 km shorter than the existing line.
The project is expected to cost $33 bil, with Japan being the major sponsor. The Hanoi - Vinh, Nha Trang - HCM City section and the central region would be laid first.
Trains will be able to travel at 300-350 km per hour on the new line, officials said.
Railway services to be further opened to private sector
14:55' 04/01/2008 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam Railway Corporation (VNR) will continue opening up rail transport services to the private sector in a move to encourage further public involvement this year.
The VNR board said after a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai last week over the corporation's development plan in 2008, that opening up rail transport was an important measure to raise funds for development given the limited State money for the sector.
Therefore, the corporation will invite private enterprises to get involved in railway transport services.
The railway sector requires huge funds for developing infrastructure projects and facilities. Therefore, VNR will let some services and projects be implemented by private investors.
After many years of holding on the exclusive right to the railway sector, VNR has offered certain locomotives, wagons and carriages on some routes for leasing to other companies.
Last year saw the corporation clinching a series of deals with non-affiliated companies to lease the right to operate some freight trains and passenger trains between HCMC and Nha Trang and between Hanoi and Lao Cai.
On HCMC-Nha Trang route, besides the trains operated by VNR, there are trains developed and operated by Ratraco and V-Train. Meanwhile, France's Victoria Hotels & Resorts and local companies such as Livitrans Express, Tulico, TSC, Viet Hung, Phuong Bac and Ratraco are providing passenger transport services between Hanoi and Lao Cai.
For freight transportation, VNR has transferred the operation right on the north-south route and Danang-Song Than route to Saigon Hoa Xa, Bien Dong and Ratraco companies.
Despite natural calamities and increasing fuel prices, the corporation's turnover reached VND6.13tril (US$383mil), up 11% from 2006. The corporation said the opening of the railway sector had contributed to the turnover rise.
VNR general director Nguyen Huu Bang said, "Leasing trains is also a way for VNR to learn from other enterprises to boost efficiency."
Capital thinks big
10:01' 19/01/2008 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge - Vietnam has approved a master plan, drawn up by the Hanoi People’s Committee and the Japanese International Cooperation Agency, to develop Hanoi to 2020.
Like in many Asian capitals, a rapidly growing population has been increasingly putting Hanoi’s infrastructure under pressure.
The Comprehensive Urban Development Programme (Haidep) was conducted between December 2004 and March 2007 to upgrade the city’s urban master plan to 2020 and set a clear direction for future growth.
The Haidep study covered 15 provinces in northern Vietnam, some 36,252 square kilometres, which is home to 23.4 million people.
Hanoi Mayor Nguyen The Thao said the management of future growth of the population and urban areas was one of the challenges facing the city leadership. If this process is not property managed, sprawl, disorderly land use will continue to adversely affect Hanoi’s development.
According to city authorities, it is estimated that the population in Hanoi’s integrated urban areas by 2020 would be 5.1 million with Hanoi proper accounting for 4.5 million.
Transportation infrastructure and services are the foundation of urban development which affects economic development, land use, living conditions, environment, provision of utilities and services and property values. Experts from Haidep suggested that transportation development in Hanoi must be undertaken at both the regional and city levels.
Regional transportation must be developed in a way that enhances the region’s competitive edge and attracts investment, strengthens inter provincial integration and facilitates balanced development.
Strategic corridor development is proposed which covers the completion of Ring Road N4, ring rail, extension of the Urban Mass Rapid Transit (Umrt) toward satellite cities and urban areas, development of high-quality expressway linking Hanoi and Haiphong, Quang Ninh and completion of the regional ring road.
While congestion worsens each passing day, effective measures such as accelerated road development, improved traffic management and enhanced public awareness are not enough to keep up with increasing demand.
Without immediate and effective implementation of needed measures in a comprehensive manner, the future situation may spiral out of control as it has in other large urban areas in Asia, Haidep experts warned.
Haidep proposed an urban transportation system which consists of the urban road network (eight radial and four ring roads), Umrt systems and a core system. Hanoi’s road network will increase from 624 kilometres to 1,143 km in length by 2020.
Since road construction in Hanoi has become increasingly complex due to difficulties in obtaining land, it is necessary to develop alternative schemes to address road development issues more comprehensively as can be done through the land readjustment scheme adopted by many successful cities in Japan.
The Umrt systems will be diversified into different areas such as metro, elevated rail and bus rapid transit. The first core system of the city will link the east and south of the city with the city centre using the existing Vietnam Railway lines and the north and southwest of the city with the city centre.
The secondary core system will link western and southern Hanoi with the city centre and ring roads 1, 2 and 3 via a rail route.
The proposed 193 km Umrt network is composed of four lines, comprising urban rail and bus rapid transit.
When the four Umrt lines are completed the system will be able to serve 2.6 million passengers per day with an average trip length of 7.8 kilometres per passenger.
Excluding committed projects, the total investment cost in the transportation sector will be about $12.7 billion of which roads account for 54 per cent, public transport 43 per cent. Regional transport projects will cost $10.5 billion comprising expressways ($1.3 billion), roads ($1.4 billion), railways ($2.3 billion), airports ($3.3 billion) and inland waterway transportation ($0.2 billion).
How many bridges should be built across the Red River?
Haidep experts suggested that bridges across the Red River and Duong River would greatly affect the urban development pattern and traffic circulation in the city.
To meet traffic demand by 2020, 11 bridges will be needed. Among those eight are crossing Red River including the existing Chuong Duong, Long Bien and Thang Long and the new bridges of Thanh Tri, Vinh Tuy, Nhat Tan and two other bridges along the ring road. The remaining bridges will be built across the Duong River.
However, experts emphasised that these bridges must be carefully planned and designed because their location significantly affects urban development and traffic. Costs will stay high and the city’s landscape could be greatly altered.
As was experienced from the Chuong Duong bridge, constructing a bridge directly leading to the city centre encourages a lot of traffic passing through the city centre, causing serious traffic congestion.
Future orientation must be for vehicular traffic between the city centre and the Red River’s left bank to use the Nhat Tan and Vinh Tuy-Thanh Tri bridges via the ring roads to mitigate the negative impact to the heart of Hanoi.
Outstanding areas for development
The master plan has suggested special areas which need to be highlighted.
The Red River used to be the backbone of Hanoi, integrating the important areas and resources of the city. However, during development and with the occurrence of disasters the Red River no longer plays a key role in the socio-economic life of the city and is slowly losing its cultural and environmental importance. There are three main points aimed at this area: to revive the Red River as the cultural and environmental backbone of the city, to promote socio-economic development by reorganising the use of its ample space and to establish adequate institutional and technical frameworks.
The Thang Long-Co Loa Zone is a space which comprises Co Loa, Ho Tay and their surrounding areas together with the old quarter which form the heart of Hanoi.
It is necessary to ensure an open vista along the Thang Long-Co Loa axis by clearing existing facilities and restricting future developments, constructing transportation facilities and its adjacent areas, redeveloping the areas outside the dyke of the Red River and developing the Dong Hoi and Xuan Canh areas to match the development vision of the Thang Long-Co Loa zone.
The old quarter, also known as the 36 streets, risks losing its traditional cultural value because of the internal and external impacts of rapid urban development.
While economic activities are promoted on the street, community relations are rooted and strengthened inside residential blocks. To preserve and revitalise these values, improve living conditions and strengthen street identity there is a need for a common vision and sustainable development solutions.
Traditional values in the old quarter are not merely physical but are also intangible assets such as traditional commercial space, indigenous knowledge of craft and traditional businesses, social and family networks.
The West Lake waterfront area is expected to form one of the most important cultural and environment backbones of the city which is based on the water-greenery-culture concept.
In the past there were 16 villages around the lake but they have for the most part disappeared. West Lake should provide the people with better access to the lake, showcase revitalised traditional villages and stronger commercial value particularly in areas linked to public transportation.
The French quarter is located in the southern part of the city centre and bounded by Trang Thi and Trang Tien street in the north, Dai Co Viet and Tran Khat Chan streets in the south, the railway line in the west and Tran Quang Khai and Tran Khanh Du streets in the east.
When the nation was known as Tonkin during the French colonial period from the end of the 19th to the early 20th century, the quarter’s wide boulevards and tree canopied streets were developed. In addition to unique architectures, various parks and lakes have created a beautiful landscape and atmosphere.
The French quarter has been preserved largely due to its relatively sufficient infrastructure and unique charm. The future development of this area should not be physically oriented alone, but should lean more toward the strengthening of both its economic potential and its natural and cultural assets.
Vietnam: The government of Vietnam announced on November 25 that it had allocated US$160m to modernise the 285 km metre-gauge line between Yen Vien in northern Hanoi and Lao Cai on the Chinese border. Work will start this year for completion in 2015. ADB is contributing US$60m, with US$80m coming from France.
The first preparatory work on Ho Chi Minh City's proposed metro was due to begin in January, the Urban Railway Planning Unit announced on January 3. The 19·7 km Line 1 would run from Ben Thanh Market to Long Binh, and revenue services are expected to start in 2014.
Southern Vietnam aims for better railway development
17:19' 22/02/2008 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge - More work is being done to renovate and expand the railway system in southern Vietnam with an aim to connect southern provinces with each other and other regions while helping HCM City become the center of southern railway network.
Along with the construction of the Ben Thanh – Suoi Tien metro line’s first depot which started yesterday, many other projects of all sizes have also gotten under way.
One of the biggest projects is the grand renovation of the “Reunification Express Route” in HCMC including the construction of the railway lines connecting Binh Trieu – Hoa Hung – Tan Kien, HCMC – Bien Hoa – Vung Tau, HCMC – Loc Ninh – Cambodia and many other lines.
The increasing number of railway lines has also led to the construction of numerous new train stations in HCMC’s districts of Cat Lai, Go Vap and other areas including the southern cities of Bien Hoa and My Tho.
With such ongoing renovation process inside the southern railway network, the region is expecting a better future for its land road transportation system.
Different transport means with different destinations will be assigned to four different belt roads to help ease traffic flow between neighboring provinces and thus, make the journeys less time-consuming than before.
In addition, the relocation of factories and ports to outside HCMC will also facilitate the improvement of the city’s traffic and environment. No trucks will be allowed into the belt-road No.1 and goods from industrial zones like Song Than and Tay Bac Cu Chi will gain access to Cat Lai and Hiep Phuoc Ports through two railway lines specializing in container shipment.
This new regulation is considered a big step to reduce the overloaded number of container trucks circulating inside the city and help ease the city’s traffic congestion.
With its three innovative measures of developing domestic road network, public transportation system and establishing tight control over personal transport means, southern Viet Nam is hoping to eliminate traffic congestion by 2020.
In related news, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai has allowed the Bank of Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV) to establish a management center and a highway fee collection station on the HCMC – Trung Luong Expressway.
The expressway which comprises of eight lines is 61.9 km in length with total investment budget for the first phase estimated at VND9,888 billion (US$618 million). '
Major railway project starts in the north
00:10' 25/02/2008 (GMT+7)
VietNamNet Bridge - Construction of the Yen Vien-Pha Lai-Ha Long-Cai Lan railway project, started on February 24 with a ground breaking ceremony for the Lim-Pha Lai portion, held in Que Vo district, northern Bac Ninh province.
The 35.9 km railway linking Lim and Pha Lai, running through Tien Du and Que Vo districts, and Bac Tinh township (Bac Ninh province) and Chi Linh district (Hai Duong province), will be built with a total investment of 2,000 billion VND. The portion will include 17 bridges.
The Yen Vien-Pha Lai-Ha Long-Cai Lan railway project is part of the East-West Corridor Project of the Greater Mekong Sub-region Economic Cooperation Programme, and the “Two corridors, one economic belt” programme. Investment capital for the project will come from government bonds.
When being completed, the large-scale modern railway project will play an important role in the development of the Northern Key Economic Region, said Minister of Transport and Communication Ho Nghia Dung.
28 Feb 2008
Ho Chi Minh City breaks ground
VIETNAM: A ceremony at Long Binh in Ho Chin Minh City's District 9 on February 21 marked the start of ground clearance works on the site chosen for a US$28m depot for the city's first metro line.
Bids are due to be called imminently for four construction contracts, and major works for the 19·7 km Line 1 are expected to begin in early 2009. Completion is now planned for 2014, deputy head of HCM City Urban Railway Authority Thi Anh Nguyet said at the event.
Japan Bank for International Co-operation has agreed to provide US$905m through its development loans programme, with the city authorities meeting the remainder of the US$1·09 bn cost.
Line 1 is the first of six lines in a US$6 bn urban rail development plan running to 2020 which was approved by the city during 2007. Starting at Quach Thi Trang Square near Ben Thanh Market, the first 2·6 km to Ba Son Shipyard will run underground, with three stations. The remaining 17·1 km to Long Binh depot and the terminus at Suoi Tien Park will be elevated and have 11 stations. An end-to-end journey will take 29 min, with six-car trains running for 20 h a day. The anticipated initial ridership of 162 000 passengers/day is predicted to reach 630 000 by 2030.
On the day of the groundbreaking ceremony the German government announced €86m of funding towards the US$1·2 bn Line 2, which will run 19 km from the An Suong crossroad in District 12 to Thu Thiem in District 2.
Japan funds technical design of Hanoi sky railway
The Japanese government will provide JPY4.68 billion (US$44.1 million) for the technical design of the Giap Bat-Gia Lam sky railway, part of the Yen Vien-Ngoc Hoi overhead rail route in Hanoi.
An agreement is expected to be signed this month.
The 25 km sky railway will link Ngoc Hoi in the south of Hanoi and Yen Vien in the east.
The plans are to build the 15 km Gia Lam-Giap Bat section between 2008 and 2017 with an investment capital of VND19.7 trillion (US$1.23 billion).
Once operational, the elevated Ngoc Hoi-Yen Vien twin railway is expected to ease traffic congestion in Hanoi and ensure rail transport safety.
The unfinished East-West highway is part of HCMC plan to improve its infrastructure system
A new government blueprint outlines an ambitious plan for Ho Chi Minh City’s infrastructure to keep pace with its rapidly expanding economy.
Imagine 22 new bridges and two new tunnels traversing Ho Chi Minh City’s rivers.
Imagine the city’s seaport being capable of handling four times the amount of cargo of two years ago, when 51 million tons moved through the port.
Imagine the land set aside for transportation development accounting for 17 percent of the city’s area instead of the current 5 percent.
These scenarios are part of a plan, released Wednesday by the HCMC Department of Transportation and Public Works, for a VND410 trillion (US$25.8 billion) boost to HCMC’s infrastructure by 2020.
Departmental officials said the blueprint could be adjusted to keep pace with the city’s dizzying rate of development.
Railway and seaport upgrades
In addition to 22 new bridges and two tunnels crossing the Saigon, Dong Nai, Nha Be and Long Tau rivers, railway routes linking HCMC and the Mekong Delta region and other south-eastern provinces are also planned.
At the press briefing, city authorities said the government had approved changes to work on several road and seaport projects already underway.
Among the changes given the green light was for three beltways to be built in the city instead of the planned four.
The plan includes the relocation of the Ba Son shipbuilding plant and the Saigon Port from District 1 to Nha Be District, on the city’s outskirts.
The government gave the nod to an adjustment to the work on several monorail and metro projects in the city.
Work on Vietnam’s first subway began in HCMC last February and is due to be completed by 2014.
It will link HCMC’s districts 1, 2, 9, Binh Thanh and Thu Duc as well as Binh Duong Province’s Di An District.
The subway, estimated to cost over $1 billion, is part of the country’s master plan to build six subway lines and three other above-ground monorail routes in HCMC by 2020.
At the press conference, officials urged relevant agencies to guard against illegal construction, particularly of skyscrapers, across the subway site.
Any such construction would delay the subway project, they said.
Officials also called for the work on beltway projects to be accelerated.
But some of the city’s administrators cast doubt on the target of increasing the proportion of HCMC residents using public transport to 50 percent by 2020 from 5 percent now.
They recommended the target be lowered to 30 percent by 2015,when the first subway line is due to be completed.
Crank up land fund, develop satellite urban areas
Tran Quang Phuong, director of the Department of Transportation and Public Works, slammed the amount of land currently set aside for transportation development, which amounted to only four or five percent of the city’s area.
HCMC aims to increase the proportion to 20 percent by 2020.
Phuong called for swift action to increase the amount of land earmarked for infrastructure so it could keep pace with the fast-growing economy.
He also stressed the importance of developing the monorail and metro networks as well as restricting the circulation of two and four-wheeled vehicles.
Officials also pushed for an expansion of HCMC’s urban satellite areas in Long An and Tien Giang provinces in the Mekong Delta.
The overall blueprint set out a plan for HCMC to become a world-class environmentally-friendly city that could accommodate its labour force in satellite urban areas.
Public transport would be a key element in the city’s new blueprint for the future, officials told the media briefing.
Last week, HCMC authorities revealed a swathe of public traffic construction projects are expected to be completed this year.