Vietnam looks to build transnational bullet train

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A US$55.8 billion-plus plan to build a transnational bullet train through Vietnam will be submitted to the National Assembly next month.

If approved, the North-South High-Speed Railway will break ground next year and be completed after 2035, according to project planners.

The 1,570-kilometer route would run from the Hanoi Station in the capital to the Hoa Hung Station in Ho Chi Minh City, with 27 stations in between, according to a report Vietnam-Japan Consulting Joint Venture will present to the legislative body.

With trains traveling at speeds of between 300-350 kilometers per hour, a Hanoi-HCMC train journey would take some five and half hours instead of the 30 hours it now takes.

Several experts have said the country has a lot of preparing to do before it can launch such a project. Mobilization of capital and human resources are the two concerns topping most analysts' lists.

The project consultant said last month that more than 6,500 people would have to be sent overseas for five-year training courses in order to be able to manage and operate the project correctly.

But even this manpower would only be enough to construct two sections of the rail line: one between Hanoi and Vinh, a town in the central province of Nghe An, and another between HCMC and the south-central town of Nha Trang. Planners hope they can bring both of the first sections on line by 2020, according to the consultant.

The Vietnam Railway Corporation will be the project's main investor.

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