​Vietnam’s railway boss vows resignations of subordinates if accidents persist

Three high-profile train crashes in Vietnam occurred in a single week last month, raising serious concerns for commuter safety

A locomotive and a freight train badly damaged after a collision in Quang Nam Province in central Vietnam on May 26, 2018. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The top leader at the state-run corporation responsible for train services between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City has warned that the directors of its subsidiaries will be forced to resign or face dismissal from their posts if the current spate of accidents continues.

In a stern statement released after a series of accidents last month, Vu Ta Tung, general director of the Vietnam Railway Corporation, asked all employees to abide strictly by safety regulations in the coming months, warning that should any crashes occur subsidiary leaders might find themselves on the company chopping block.

For employees, disciplinary actions could include a lower grade on their performance report, ultimately affecting their pay rate, Tung added.

He fell short of mentioning any consequence he himself might face should an accident occur.

Though smartphones and tablets are strictly prohibited for train operators, dispatchers, and conductors who are on duty, Tung statement pointed the finger at employees who caused accidents while being distracted by mobile games and social media.

The railway boss and his deputy Doan Duy Hoach were ‘seriously criticized’ this week for holding responsibility for a spate of train accidents that claimed two lives in May.

On May 24, a passenger train traveling from Hanoi collided with a truck in the north-central province of Thanh Hoa, killing two people and injuring at least six others.

On May 26, another train with a rock-carrying carriage derailed in neighboring Nghe An Province, but no casualties were reported.

The same day, a freight train slammed into a locomotive which was moving cars at a station in the central Vietnamese province of Quang Nam, causing many carriages to derail and goods to be thrown off the train.

The accidents further dampened public confidence on the safety of Vietnamese railways system following the discovery last year that a US$300 million automatic railway signaling system critical to preventing collisions and derailments was ineffective despite high expectations.

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