Can Tho City administration met Wednesday with a consultant and design company regarding plans for an express railway project that will one day connect Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho.
The US$4 billion project, which is part of a government-approved national railway zoning plan until 2020, is currently in the design stage with a date for groundbreaking to be set later.
The railway is being designed by a venture between Transport Engineering Design Joint-Stock Incorporated South (TEDI South) and South Korea's ChungSuk consultant company.
The plan calls for the HCMC-Can Tho railway to offer a one-way transportation time of between 30-45 minutes. Currently, buses take more than five hours, including a ferry ride, to travel the route connecting the two cities at a distance of around 169 kilometers.
The railway is expected to serve first-generation trains of up to 300 kilometers (186 miles) per hour, and up to 350 kilometers (217 miles) per hour for those of the second generation.
With several elevated sections, the railway is also being designed to avoid flood areas for up to 200 years.
TEDI South estimates the railway will serve around 362,000 passengers a day by 2030, tripling figures of the current HCMC-Da Nang railway.
TEDI South on Wednesday submitted three designs of the railway to Can Tho authorities for consideration and approval.
The main terminal location in HCMC is proposed for the Hoa Hung area in District 10 or Thu Thiem area in District 2, before running through the city along the Doi and Te canals to Nguyen Van Linh Street in Binh Chanh District.
The railway would run alongside a part of the highway connecting HCMC and Tien Giang Province until it reaches Tan An Town in Long An Province.
From this point, there are three design options up for consideration.
In the first plan, the railway would continue to run alongside the highway before reaching Cai Rang District in Can Tho City. The total length of this route would be 156 kilometers and the terminal in Can Tho would be some 4 kilometers from the city center.
This plan would offer convenience to passengers as it is located near downtown Can Tho, but it could affect several infrastructure projects in the city and nearby Vinh Long Province.
In the second plan, the railway would end in Can Tho at Binh Thuy District, at a terminal located about 6 kilometers from the city center. The total length of the railway in this plan is 147 kilometers.
The third plan allows trains to visit Sa Dec Town in Dong Thap Province before reaching O Mon District in Can Tho. The total length of the route would be 149 kilometers with the Can Tho terminal at some 16 kilometers from the city center.
This plan would not affect infrastructure projects but the terminal would be farther from Can Tho's center than the others, according to TEDI South.
The Can Tho City People's Committee is yet to approve any of the plans.