A train runs trial in Cát Linh -Hà Đông urban elevated railway line. — VNA/VNS Photo Việt Hùng

HÀ NỘI — The Ministry of Transport has hired French safety consultants to oversee the final stages of Hà Nội’s first metro project, the Cát Linh-Hà Đông urban elevated railway.

The move is to ensure the final safety procedures are completed smoothly and allow for the project to start operating soon after years of setbacks.

Regular checks have been conducted by relevant agencies, including the State Council for Pre-Acceptance Test for Construction Works and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment.

The ministry will strengthen supervision to ensure the highest safety before the project goes live.

According to China’s Engineering, Procurement, Construction (EPC) contractor, delays were due to problems regarding the completion of documents for inspection. These problems are caused by different regulations between the two countries.

At the question-and-answer session before the 14th National Assembly meeting on June 5, transport minister Nguyễn Văn Thể said: “We are looking forward to putting the project into operation. But this is the first urban railway project, it directly concerns the lives of many people so safety must be the highest priority. Commercial runs of the project will begin right after consultants certified the safety of the project.”

The 13.5km-long railway line, from Cát Linh in Ba Đình District to the suburban district of Hà Đông, cost approximately US$868 million, of which two-thirds were loans from China.

Construction officially began in 2011 and was initially planned to be completed in 2014, until several delays dragged the project to a yet unknown date of completion.

The elevated railway has been running trials since September 2018.

The train will run with a maximum speed of 80km per hour, the average speed of operation is 35km per hour, with trains running every few minutes.

The People’s Committee of Hà Nội has also announced the lowest one-way ticket price for the railway line is VNĐ8,000 (35 cents); daily ticket is VNĐ30,000 (US$1.3) and monthly ticket is VNĐ200,000 ($8.6). — VNS