The Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro made its first run Thursday. Official launch could happen in three to six months.
All 13 trains on the route had their trial runs Thursday, starting from the Yen Nghia Station in Ha Dong District to Cat Linh Station in Dong Da District. The route is approximately 13 kilometers long, and the trains stop for a minute at each of the 12 stations.
Officials said the trial run served to double-check all system operations before the project is officially launched. Trial runs will continue for the next three to six months, and the project is aiming to launch full-fledged service before the next Lunar New Year in February, they added.
Chinese contractors are fully responsible for the operations of the trial runs initially. Afterwards, trained Vietnamese workers will also join in to operate the trial runs.
The trains will run continuously on both lanes, 10 minutes apart.
Each train has four cars, with a total capacity of 1,000 passengers. The cars, made of stainless steel, are approximately 19 meters long.
Among other facilities, the stations are equipped with roofs, walking bridges, elevators, escalators, surveillance and ventilation systems.
Work on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated railway started in October 2011 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2013. But several hurdles, including loan disbursement issues with China that were only resolved last December, have been stalling the project for years.
The original cost estimate of $552.86 million has also ballooned to more than $868 million, including $670 million in loans from China.