A pilot metro rail line in Hanoi is expected to start service by 2016, with the first survey drill for the project set to begin on the evening of July 7, at the Hanoi station.

The pilot 12.5km-long metro line linking Nhon, in Hanoi’s Tu Liem suburban district and the Hanoi railway station in the inner district of Hoan Kiem, includes a 8.5 km elevated section and 4km underground section from Thu Le to Hanoi station.

The Nhon-Hanoi line is an important transport project not only for Hanoi , but also for the whole country, contributing to reducing traffic congestion and to sustainable development, Marie-Cecile Tardieu-Smith, economic counsellor of the French Embassy in Hanoi , told reporters in Hanoi on July 7.

Success of the pilot line will facilitate implementation of other metro lines in Hanoi , she said.

The 1 billion USD project received financial support from major donors such as the French Economic, Finance and Industry Ministry, the French Development Agency, the Asian Development Bank and the European Investment Bank.

Alain Bechereau, from French consultancy Systra, said soil testing was required before construction of the underground tunnels and his company aimed to define technical designs for underground line stations and tunnels of the metro line, as well as select appropriate machines for the construction and choose international bidders.

Work on construction of depots was scheduled for November, while work on the elevated section was to begin in February, 2012 and the underground section in November 2012, according to the consultant.

The project started last September, with work on the train depot in the presence of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung on the occasion of the millennium anniversary of the capital city.

There will be 12 stations along the line which is designed for a maximum speed of 80 km per hour and capable of carrying over 900 passengers per train. It will take passengers about 20 minutes to travel the whole length of the line.

The soil testing was witnessed by Nguyen Van Khoi, Deputy Chairman of the Hanoi Municipal People’s Committee and Marie-Cecile Tardieu-Smith, the French Embassy’s economic counsellor./.