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Saigon’s 117-year-old railway bridge serves its last train

Saturday, September 14, 2019, 12:48 GMT+7
Saigon’s 117-year-old railway bridge serves its last train
A train is pictured traveling on the Binh Loi Railway Bridge, built in 1902, in Ho Chi Minh City, September 14, 2019. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

The more-than-a-century-old Binh Loi Railway Bridge in Ho Chi Minh City served its last ever train on Saturday, wrapping up 117 years of helping trains traveling on Vietnam’s lifeline north-to-south railway system cross the Saigon River.

A Hanoi-bound train with 290 passengers aboard was the last north-to-south train to cross the deteriorating structure as it passed the bridge at around 9:00 am.

The new Binh Loi Railway Bridge, located 12 meters away from the old one and whose construction began in 2015, was put into operation the same morning.

Built in 1902, the 276-meter Binh Loi Railway Bridge, featuring six spans and steel arches, was the first of its kind to cross the Saigon River, connecting Binh Thanh District and Thu Duc District.

While the bridge has a historical value, it was crucial to replace it with a modern one as the structure had seriously been deteriorated.

In addition, the old Binh Loi Railway Bridge’s vertical clearance height is only 1.8 meters, so boats often get stuck under the bridge when there are high tides.

This SE6 train is the last to travel on the old Binh Loi Railway Bridge. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre
This SE6 train is the last to travel on the old Binh Loi Railway Bridge. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

Prior to the opening of the new bridge, the Ministry of Transport has backed a proposal by the Ho Chi Minh City administration to keep two spans of the bridge and a watchtower in the section in Thu Duc District intact. The other half of the structure from Binh Thanh District will be dismantled and liquidated.

The new Binh Loi Railway Bridge, built as part of the Pham Van Dong Boulevard, will allow trains to travel at a speed of up to 100 kilometers per hour and improve waterway traffic, as it has a vertical clearance of seven meters.

Local people film the last train passing the old Binh Loi Railway Bridge. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre
Local people film the last train passing the old Binh Loi Railway Bridge. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre
Workers are seen on the construction of the new Binh Loi Railway Bridge. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre
Workers are seen on the construction of the new Binh Loi Railway Bridge. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre
The new Binh Loi Railway Bridge is much higher than the old structure. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre
The new Binh Loi Railway Bridge is much higher than the old structure. Photo: Ngoc Phuong / Tuoi Tre

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