If approved, the Hanoi-Vinh and Ho Chi Minh City-Nha Trang sections will be built first from 2022 and scheduled for completion by 2030.
Vietnam currently has 3,134 kilometres of railway tracks, of which 2,531 kilometres run along the length of the country, however, all are narrow gauge tracks, putting constraints on train speed and transport capacity.
After years of lacking proper investment, railway tracks and other facilities have deteriorated, making it less favourable than other modes of transport.
The government argues that due to Vietnam’s specific geography with the two economic hubs of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City located on the two ends of the country, it is necessary to build a transport system connecting the two cities with other industrial and tourism centres situated throughout the country.
A high-speed railway is also expected to help reduce road and air congestion on the north-south axis.
The government has stated that the project will be studied carefully and built section by section in an appropriate timeframe as it requires massive capital, which will cause pressure on public debt.
The high-speed railway project has been shelved after being rejected by the National Assembly in 2010 as the initial study failed to clarify a number of issues including its necessity, a clear construction roadmap and mobilisation of resources.