Vietnam is planning to build a new higher speed rail route connecting the capital city of Hanoi to the northern border with China to boost two-way trade, Vietnam News Agency reported on Monday.
According the plan, the 391 km railway linking Hai Phong city, Hanoi and Lao Cai province will have the global standard track gauge of 1,435 mm instead of century-old gauge of 1,000 mm common in Vietnam.
The average speed for passenger trains is 160 km per hour, while that of freight ones is 90 km per hour.
During a recent meeting on the planning for the new railway, which will run in parallel with the existing slow one with an average speed of 50 km per hour, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Ngoc Dong said that it would play a key role in the socioeconomic development of the localities it runs through, including Lao Cai, Yen Bai, Phu Tho, Vinh Phuc, Hanoi, Hung Yen, Hai Duong and Hai Phong.
It was also expected to improve Vietnam's international transport connectivity and trade activity, particularly with China, he said, adding that the railway will draw more Vietnamese exports to China, or they may be transported there before leaving for Central Asia or Europe and vice versa.
Dong said the Ministry of Transport was proactively negotiating with China to finalize plans to connect the two sides' rail tracks so that the construction could start as soon as possible.