Hanoi’s China-funded Cat Linh – Ha Dong urban railway project, the first of its kind in Vietnam, will begin commercial operation this Saturday, after over 10 years of construction marked by several deferrals.
Duong Duc Tuan, deputy chairman of Hanoi, announced at a press conference on Thursday afternoon that the Ministry of Transport will hand over the project to the municipal government at 7:00 am on Saturday for commercial operation.
Passengers will benefit from free rides in the first 15 days of operation.
Six trains will run ten minutes apart on the 13km-long railway route, which takes some 20 minutes to travel from start to end, from 5:30 am to 11:00 pm every day in the first six months.
In the next six months, the number of trains will double and operate at a six-minute interval while one train will remain as a backup.
Each train, whose designed speed is 80 km per hour, has four carriages capable of carrying over 900 passengers.
The fares range from VND8,000 (US$0.35) for the shortest distance to VND15,000 ($0.66) for a trip covering the entire line between Yen Nghia Station and Cat Linh Station.
Commuters can enjoy unlimited rides in a single day if they purchase a day pass or monthly pass.
Transport authorities have worked to connect 55 public bus routes with the metro line since last year and will increase the network to 59 routes in the future.
Currently, there is no space for car parking along the urban railway route but there are parking lots for motorbikes at all 12 stations.
The Cat Linh – Ha Dong urban railway, costing a total of $886 million after adjustments, runs from Cat Linh Station in downtown Dong Da District to Yen Nghia Station in south-western Ha Dong District.
It is projected to be the first metro line of its kind to be put into operation in Vietnam.
Work on the railway, built by China Railway Sixth Group, began in October 2011 and was initially scheduled for completion in 2013.
However, several hurdles, including problems in China’s official development assistance (ODA) loan disbursement that were only resolved in December 2017, have stalled it for years.
The trial run of the line, part of a metro line system that will comprise underground sections upon completion, was completed in December 2020, with 5,740 trips covering more than 70,000 kilometers.
The State Council for Acceptance of Construction Projects approved the quality assessment results of the metro line, the final step for the project to begin commercial operation, on October 29.
Hanoi Railway One Member Limited Company, the operator of the project, has followed all operational recommendations of the system safety assessment consultant and added 82 more staff members to increase the line’s personnel to 733 workers, according to general director Vu Hong Truong.