Hanoi’s long, long, long overdue ‘skytrain’ looks like it might finally be nearing completion, with engineers running empty “test trains” loaded with monitoring equipment along the line’s 13 kilometre (about eight mile) length since the beginning of August.
Originally expected to come into service in 2013, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban rail project commenced construction in 2011 (See: Hanoi & HCMC Metros Struggling to Get on Track) with an initial estimated cost of $552.9 million. Lengthy delays caused by slow loan disbursement and with contractors, in addition to not a few serious safety incidents, has seen numerous subsequent completion dates slide past.
With the budget now put at some $800 million, some $670 million of which has come by way of Chinese Official development assistance (ODA), Vietnam’s first mass transit system is now looking at commencing operations in October, several months earlier than a forecast made earlier this year.
Designed to cater for up to 14,000 passengers per hour, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated railway comprises 12 stations along its length, with 13 four-carriage air-conditioned trains slated to run every two minutes at a speeds of up to 80 kilometres per hour (50 mph).
The video above gives a birds-eye view of the wide field of view afforded to the engineer, as well as the modern, hi-tech driver’s control panel.
Inside both sides of the carriages have moulded seating, and two rows of overhead hand rails. Vertical supports in the middle of the cabin appear widely spaced apart however, with just a single pole for passengers to attempt to grab a piece of. The vestibules between the carriages appear wide, providing easy navigability for those in wheelchairs.
Built by state-owned China Railway Engineering Corporation (CREC), the major shareholder of China Railway Group Limited, its subsidiary, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban rail project is the first of five proposed elevated railways aimed at easing Hanoi’s ever increasing traffic congestion and air pollution levels.
Meanwhile work continues on the Japanese funded HCMC metro Line 1. Originally scheduled for completion in 2014 the project, whose numerous lengthy delays have seen it gain the unflattering title as being one of the world’s most expensive such projects, is now guestimated to commence operations in 2020.
In the meantime those in Hanoi, or planning to visit later this year, take a sneak peek inside Vietnam’s Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated railway now.
Feature video New China TV
- China-constructed urban railway in Vietnam starts final test runs (Xinhua)
- Chinese firm helps Vietnam build its first urban elevated rail (CGTN)
- China-constructed urban railway in Vietnam starts final test runs (Nhan Dan)
Between November 2010 and February 2012 she was a staff writer at Daylight Online, Nigeria writing on health, fashion, and relationships. From 2010 – 2017 she worked as a freelance screen writer for ‘Nollywood’, Nigeria.
She joined AEC News Today in December 2016.