Urban railway project draws $251 million loan from China

09:46 | 15/09/2016
On September 12, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang signed an agreement to provide an additional loan of $250.62 million for the Cat Linh-Ha Dong urban railway project in Hanoi to ensure the designed progress and quality, and put it into operation in 2018, according to newswire Vnexpress.vn.

After the signing ceremony, in a meeting with the constructor China Railway Sixth Group, the PM urged to accelerate the construction progress insofar as quality and safety is not sacrificed.

Ma Jiangqian, general director of China Railway Sixth Group pledged to complete the basic construction work by the end of this year. He also said the company will strive to begin trial runs as early as July 2017 and begin commercial operations in September.

The project’s construction was kicked off in October 2011 with an initial estimated investment capital of $552 million under an EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) contract. It had originally been scheduled for completion in 2013.

However, the deadline was extended by the end of 2015, with the trial phase set to begin in January 2016. However, further delays were granted due to obstacles in site clearance and capital adjustment.

In early 2014, the project developer proposed adjusting the total investment to $868 million, nearly doubling the original figure.

The 13-kilometre Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated railway will have 12 stations and a depot linking Dong Da district’s Cat Linh Street and Ha Dong district’s Yen Nghia bus station. Once completed, the trains will transport up to 2,110 passengers at an average speed of 35 and a maximum of 80 kilometres per hour.

Along with the long delay in construction, the project has also been hit by a grim series of scandals since ground-breaking.

In mid-November 2014, construction was suspended for several weeks after one passer-by was killed and two others were injured by falling steel reels from a construction site of the project.

When construction resumed in December, a 10-meter-long scaffolding collapsed and nearly killed four people in a taxi driving through the area.

In late January 2015, Nguyen Huu Thang, head of the project developer Vietnam Railway Authority, was found dead for unknown reasons in his office in Hanoi.

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By By Ha Vy

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