Hanoi’s first metro line to conduct test run by end-2020

The safety test run for the whole system of Hanoi’s first line of urban railway project, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong line, will be completed within 20 days by late December 2020, Kinh te & Do thi reported.

The Hanoi Metropolitan Railway Management Board (MRB) under the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said that 110 experts of China Railway Sixth Group - the EPC contractor - and eight of the French consultancy Apave-Certifier-Tricc (ACT) consortium will carry out the safety evaluation and remaining tasks in November.

Currently, some 90 experts and personnel of the general contractor and one French expert have arrived in Hanoi for the trial operation of Cat Linh - Ha Dong line. Among them, 30 are under COVID-19 quarantine.

According to the MRB, the purpose of commissioning the line is to test and evaluate its safety and the skills of the operating personnel in accordance with the actual run chart.

The MRB added that the overall acceptance of the project will include both the test for pre-acceptance of the project and the qualifications of the operating staff. The general contractor will have to repair any items that fail to meet the requirements.

Especially, the MRB stressed that the trial operation and acceptance phase of the project is not the last one before putting the project into commercial operation. The Cat Linh - Ha Dong line will still have to undergo a host of evaluation tests.

Accordingly, the consultants will evaluate and issue a certificate for the safety and quality system of the project and submit to the Vietnam Register for appraisal and certification. After that, the investor will accept and hand over the project to the Hanoi People's Committee for official running. The process is predicted to be protracted.

Expectation from the Minister of Transport’s promise

At a National Assembly sitting on November 3, Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The admitted that the progress of urban railway traffic projects was behind schedule.

In the near future, the Ministry of Transport will coordinate closely with big cities' administrations so that new urban railway projects can avoid repeating such delays, Mr. The said.

Commitments of Mr. The received special attention from the public.

According to the minister, although the workload at Hanoi’s first metro line project is almost completed, the safety evaluation carried out by ACT has not made much progress. The Chinese general contractor has neither provided manufacturers’ certificates, technical documents, test results nor conducted a full evaluation of the field tests. Therefore, ACT has not been able to complete the safety assessment due to insufficient grounds for independent consultancy.

ACT has come up with a solution that they will conduct field validation during the last 20 days of operation and emergency situation drills.

With the minister’s commitment, it is expected that the Cat Linh - Ha Dong railway will be in service in early 2021 as planned.

Work on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line began in 2011 and was originally scheduled for completion in 2013. But several hurdles, including loan disbursement issues with China that were only resolved in December 2017, have stalled it for years.

The first urban metro line is one of the key public transport projects in Hanoi. Since September 2018, this project has tested all 13 trains, with an average speed of 35 kilometers per hour.

Project costs have more than doubled from the original VND8.8 trillion (US$378 million) to VND18 trillion (US$774 million), according to state auditors.

When complete, the country’s first metro line will run 13 kilometers from Cat Linh station in downtown Dong Da district to Yen Nghia station in southwest Ha Dong district.

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