Hanoi’s first metro line, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong route, has begun a 20-day commercial operation run for inspection purposes.
The trial will check all aspects or the line’s operations, from functioning stations with staff on duty at operation rooms and ticket booths. Electronic signs and loudspeakers are turned on to instruct metro commuters. Six to nine trains will operate on the route.
The first metro line runs 13 kilometers from Cat Linh Station in downtown Dong Da District to the Yen Nghia Station in the southwestern Ha Dong District.
The metro had made its first trial run in September last year, but that test was supervised by Chinese experts from the Shenzhen Metro Company.
The ongoing commercial trial will be supervised by Vietnamese employees from state-owned Hanoi Metro Company Limited.
The 20-day period will verify system safety and operational capacity of all employees, which is a mandatory step in the inspection process, said a representative from the Chinese general contractor.
It has been reported several times that work on the line is 99 percent complete. The 1 percent remaining work is mainly outlook finishing.
The interiors of a station of the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro route. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy.
The project has experienced several delays, the latest due the fact that the Chinese contractor has not provided certificates and documents to be perused by foreign experts for evaluating the system’s security, the Ministry of Transport said in a report earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Duong Hong, Director of the Cat Linh – Ha Dong Railway Project, has said that the company has provided all the documents to the Vietnamese investor. The investor has made other additional demands that are difficult for the Chinese contractor to meet, he said.
Hong also said the French consulting firm Apave-Certifier-Tricc consortium (ACT) should have joined the project in 2016 when the construction sections had finished and equipment had been installed.
Last month, ACT was hired by the Ministry of Transport to examine the design, construction and operation of the line.
The Chinese contractor said ACT applies European standards to the metro line built to Chinese standards, creating another problem in completing the relevant paperwork.
The delays have caused the company $2 million a month on average for 200 Chinese and Vietnamese staff, office and house rents and other expenses, the contractor said.
Work on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong elevated railway started 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, stalled it for years.
The original project estimate of $552.86 million has also ballooned to more than $868 million, including $670 million in loans from China.
Hanoi plans to build eight urban railway lines with a combined distance of 305 km, including three monorail segments, as per its development plan for 2030 with vision towards 2050.