Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has approved a plan to build Vietnam's first high-speed railway by 2030.

The transport sector's multi-pronged plan will focus on upgrading current rail routes and creating new ones. First it will upgrade the popular North-South route, making it accessible to passenger trains travelling 80 to 90km per hour and cargo trains travelling 50 to 60kph.

The sector will start building a North-South railway accessible by trains travelling 160 to 200kph in 2020, with a completion date set for 2030.

With the improvement of the country's railway system, the transport ministry expects trains to account for five to eight percent of passenger travel and five to six percent cargo transport by 2030. It expects trains to account for 30 percent of travel between Hanoi and HCM City.

In the plan's first phase from 2015 to 2020, the sector will make preparations for building new routes between Hanoi and Lao Cai, Hai Phong, and Dong Dang in the north; and several other routes connecting Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Sai Gon – Can Tho, and Hai Phong – Lach Huyen Port.

Research will also be done on several routes connecting sea ports to industrial zones.-VNA