North-South Train National Route In Vietnam Now Operational

All Hanoi-Saigon train services resumed last June 26 after more than 3 months since the collapse of the Ghenh railway bridge in the southern province of Dong Nai last March which affected the sole national route of train travel from North to South in Vietnam. The bridge connecting the two shores divided by the Dong Nai River was hit by a passing barge.

Train journeys are common in Vietnam since this is a cheap method to travel in comparison to plane flights. Residents and tourists take the scenic routes traveling by train from Hanoi to Sapa in the north or from Hanoi to Saigon in the south. Vietnam’s air-conditioned trains are safe, comfortable and budget friendly. This is the ideal way to get around and see Vietnam at ground level.

According to the Vietnam Railways, the collapse of the bridge affected the traffic on the north-south route for the past months. There was a fall of around 20% resulting in hundreds of millions of dong revenue loss per month.

With the accident that happened, passengers were forced to take bus detours avoiding the disrupted section. Train passengers have to be transferred by buses between Binh Duong Province’s Di An Station and Dong Nai Province’s Bien Hoa Station since the bridge is situated between them.

Tran Van Giang and Nguyen Van Le were arrested after accusations of violating waterway traffic regulations. The owner of the barge, Phan The Thuong, was also arrested for appointing Le and Giang who didn’t have legitimate licenses to operate a boat. According to the investigation, Le and Giang were ordered by Thuong to tow the barge using his SG-3765 boat from Saigon to Dong Nai. Giang steered the boat with Le as his assistant. They encountered a strong torrent while entering the area of Dong Nai River which was 10 meters away from Ghenh Bridge. They tried to slow down the boat but was unsuccessful since the engine broke down which caused the barge crashing into the construction. Giang and Le tried to escape to Soc Trang but were found.