More than a dozen Chinese-made trains will be used to carry passengers on a US$868.04 million urban railway that is under construction in Hanoi, the project management unit (PMU) said in a report on Friday.
Beijing Rolling Stock Equipment Co. will supply 13 trains for the Cat Linh – Ha Dong urban railway as per a contract the project developer closed with the Chinese contractor, according to the PMU.
The train supply contract is worth $63.2 million, which has been approved by the Ministry of Transport.
The Chinese train maker has proposed six internal and external design plans for the trains, included in the Friday report on which the PMU is seeking opinions from the transport ministry.
Once the design plans are approved, the PMU will start placing orders for the trains, it said in the report.
A mock-up train is slated to be displayed for public comment later this year whereas the delivery of all 13 trains is scheduled for the first quarter of next year.
The Cat Linh – Ha Dong urban railway project broke ground in October 2011, at an initial investment estimate of $552 million, $419 million of which are Chinese development assistance loans.
The Vietnam Railway Authority, under the transport ministry, is the project developer, whereas China Railway Sixth Group, a subsidiary of construction conglomerate China Railway Group, is the EPC (engineering, procurement, and construction) contractor.
Under an EPC contract, the contractor designs the installation, procures the necessary materials, and builds the project.
The transport ministry is considering increasing the total investment in the project to $868.04 million due to cost overruns during the course of construction.
Construction of infrastructure for the project will likely finish by the end of this year and it may officially go on stream in March 2016.
The Chinese-contracted Cat Linh – Ha Dong urban railway project has been hit by several scandals since groundbreaking.
In late January, Nguyen Huu Thang, head of the Vietnam Railway Authority, was found dead for an unknown reason in his office in Hanoi.
On April 25, 2014, Thang was suspended from his post for 15 days by Transport Minister Dinh La Thang for his “irresponsible statements” to local media about a rise of $339 million in construction costs for the Cat Linh – Ha Dong project.
Thang had said the multimillion-dollar cost overrun was “just a bid of adjustment” and criticized members of the public for “making a fuss about it.”
On December 28, 2014, a 10-meter-long scaffold of the construction site of the project collapsed out of a sudden, trapping a taxi with three passengers in the steel rubble as it was running in the area at the time of the accident.
The driver and passengers managed to get out unharmed.
In mid-November the same year, reels of steel fell off from another construction site of the project, killing one person and injuring two others, prompting the transport ministry to suspend construction for a safety review.