Feasibility studies launched on rejected high-speed railway project

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Japan will support Vietnam in conducting feasibility studies on two sections of a high-speed railway project that was recently rejected by lawmakers, Vietnamnet reported Monday.


A delegation from Japan is working with Vietnam's Ministry of Transport and Vietnam Railways on an agreement, the news website quoted a leader from Vietnam Railways as saying.


It was expected that Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will also work with the ministry on it Tuesday, according to Vietnamnet.


Do Van Hat, director general of Vietnam Railways' Traffic Transport Construction and Investment Consultancy Company, said that under the government's approval, the ministry had previously written to the Japanese government, asking for financial and technical support for the feasibility studies.


Expected to start this November and end in the first quarter of 2012, the studies will be conducted on a section connecting Hanoi and the central town of Vinh in Nghe An province, and another one between Ho Chi Minh City and the central resort town of Nha Trang.


The sections are part of a 1,570-kilometer long high-speed railway project linking Hanoi and HCMC, which was rejected by the National Assembly in June.


Lawmakers who then voted against the US$56 billion project said it was economically unsound, and that further studies on its feasibility were needed.


Japan is also cooperating with Vietnam Railways in studying a plan to build a 25-kilometer long railway line connecting Ngoc Hoi District with Noi Bai Airport.


According to Hat, the plan includes building a new eight-kilometer long section between Bac Hong Station and Noi Bai, and upgrading the old one between Ha Dong and Bac Hong.

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