Vietnam to let private company operate Da Lat tourist rail line: report

Thanh Nien News

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The service has been making losses since 1991


 Da Lat Railway Station. File photo
The Ministry of Transport is looking for a private company to operate a tourist rail line in the Central Highlands resort town of Da Lat, following decades of losses, news website Saigon Times Online reported on Wednesday.
The seven-kilometer Da Lat-Trai Mat line connects the only train station in the city center with the farms and rural neighborhoods in the southeastern outskirts.
Built in the 1930s, the line was abandoned for more than 20 years before it was revived in 1991 to serve tourists. But it has reported losses ever since.
The government spends around VND1.2 billion (US$53,000) offsetting losses and maintaining the service every year, according to the news report.
Vietnam Railways, the state-owned manager of the country's rail system, was quoted as saying that two companies have applied for the operating rights. 
Since the beginning of this year, the government has announced several plans to privatize transport infrastructure such as airports, expressways and rail lines, saying that it needs money for new projects.
Vietnam's government plans to earmark more than VND1 trillion ($48 billion) for transport projects over the next five years.

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