29/03/2016 20:42:17

Railway network in Ho Chi Minh City to be elevated: official

The railway network in Ho Chi Minh City will be soon elevated, the municipal Department of Transport said amid public debate on the relocation of the city’s major train station following a bridge collapse.

As all trains traveling between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have been halted due to the collapse of the Ghenh railway bridge in neighboring Dong Nai Province, many members of the public agreed on a relocation of the Saigon Railway Station as a solution.

Citizens also believed that relocating all railway operations out of the southern city could alleviate traffic jams on several of its streets.

Nguyen Van Tam, deputy director of the Department of Transport, shared a similar point of view that many level crossings in the city, combined with an increasing number of vehicles, have exacerbated congestion.

However, the plan for transportation development in Ho Chi Minh City until 2020, which was approved by the prime minister on March 8, 2013, clearly stated that the railway hub would remain in its current location, according to Tam.

The plan also includes the elevation of all train tracks in the city, avoiding interference with 14 streets and thus minimizing congestion at several traffic hotspots, the official continued.

In response to the option of moving the train station to Bien Hoa City in Dong Nai, or to the outlying district of Binh Chanh in Ho Chi Minh City, Tam cited a research finding saying that most passengers traveling to the southern hub choose to get off at Saigon Railway Station.

Maintaining the station’s current location will be more convenient for travelers, he said.

In addition, the elevated railway network is expected to be connected with other bus, taxi, and metro routes to provide quick and flexible transportation for travelers from other localities as well as city dwellers, the official elaborated.

Regarding the delayed execution of the project, Tam said that the Ministry of Transport has been urged to prioritize investing in the plan.

As authorities have not established a viable financial scheme for the railway elevation, the actual implementation has been delayed.

Tam believed that with the attention of the city’s leaders and people as well as the determination of the Ministry of Transport, all train tracks in Ho Chi Minh City would soon be raised above street level.

After the Ghenh Bridge collapsed due to collision with a barge in Dong Nai on March 20, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper conducted a survey on the optimal solution to the pause in railway operations brought about by the incident.

Since the collapse, trains have been unable to cross the Dong Nai River, forcing all passengers to continue their journey by bus.

A total of 9,272 readers participated in the survey, which ran until March 24, and 54.3 percent of those surveyed agreed that Saigon Railway Station should be moved to Bien Hoa City, which is on the other side of the river.


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