The Ministry of Transport has criticized a controversial plan put forward by Hanoi Railway Transport Company to buy 164 railroad cars which have been in use for 12-20 years in China, soon after it was reported by local media.
Minister Dinh La Thang on Wednesday ordered Vietnam Railways, which manages the Hanoi company, to "strictly" punish those who were involved in the plan.
He asked that Hanoi Railway CEO Nguyen Viet Hiep be dismissed.
The plan violated Vietnam's existing regulations on importing used machinery, Thang said in an official letter.
His strong action came only hours after local media reported that the Hanoi company had secured approval from Vietnam Railways to buy the cars from Kunming Railway Bureau in China's Yunnan Province.
The company was reportedly seeking advice from the Ministry of Transport, and the Ministry of Science and Technology for the imports, which it said could help save a lot of money.
The plan, apparently discussed since June last year, came amid various attempts to upgrade the country's overused train system to give it a boost in the competition against the increasingly affordable air services.
Last week the Hanoi company unveiled two new trains on the Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City line, promising five-star services. The company claimed it invested around VND80 billion (US$3.53 million) in these new trains.
While many people have questioned the plan to purchase used cars, Doan Duy Hoach, deputy CEO of Vietnam Railways told news website Infonet that he found "nothing wrong" with it.