Expensive railway route fails to attract passengers
  • |, VietnamNet | September 20, 2017 07:44 AM
The USD68-million 130km route from Hanoi's Yen Vien to Ha Long City just serves a few dozen passengers a day.

Nguyen Duc Dai, head of Ha Long Station, said the route transports around three tonnes of freight daily, mostly vegetables, fruits, chickens or ducks.


Ha Long-Yen Vien train route

The trains previously used two passenger carriages and four goods carriages, but now, the number has been reduced to one and three respectively due to the limited passengers. With the empty seats, passengers often hang their hammocks to take a rest or sleep.

At present, only one train is operated on the route.

The passenger carriage has 50 seats, but, there are sometimes just around five passengers. The train smells of damp, the speakers and air conditioning system have faced problems and the toilets have deteriorated.


Passengers often hang their hammocks to take a rest or sleep

Pham Thi Lien in Bac Giang Province said that the train ticket is quite cheap, at VND70,000 (USD3.1) per passenger for the entire route. It costs VND40,000 to transport 100 kilos of goods.

The train stops at 18 stations during the trip and it takes eight hours for it to travel from Ha Long Station to Yen Vien Station.

“The time is quite long compared to just 4-5 five hours to go by coach on National Highway 18. So, the railway route fails to lure passengers,” said railway worker Dang Duc Tuan. Tuan said that over the past ten years since when he started working for the route, he had never seen a full train.


The train only serves a very limited number of passengers

The route transports a mere 7,000 passengers per year, including around 10 people who are frequent passengers.

The line, invested by Vietnam Railways, was put into operation since 2014 after nine years of construction.

According to Doan Duy Hoach, deputy general director of Vietnam Railways, the route is part of the Yen Vien-Ha Long-Cai Lan project. Following the government’s instruction to delay the project implementation since 2011, the project has not yet been fully invested.

Quang Ninh Province has proposed to the government to continue the project, however, the government is still considering whether to resume the project.

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