Part of French-era cog railway connecting the resort city of Da Lat in Lam Dong and the coastal Phan Rang-Thap Cham city in Khanh Hoa province (Source: vnexpress)

Lam Dong (VNA) – The Central Highlands province of Lam Dong has expressed support of a proposal on restoring a French-era cog railway connecting the resort city of Da Lat in the province and the coastal Phan Rang-Thap Cham city in Khanh Hoa province.

The provincial People’s Committee issued a notice on the proposal following a recent working session on the pre-feasibility study on the work, submitted by the Bach Dang trade, service and hotel company.

The railway, the only one of its kind in Indochina, was built during the French colonial rule in early 20th century. Construction of the route started in 1908 and took 24 years to complete. It was designed for trains to climb the Song Pha Pass, which is at an altitude of 1,500m above sea level.

After the liberation of the southern region in 1975, the route was totally damaged, and most the rails, locomotives and train carriages were dismantled and used for other purposes.

In 1991, a 7-km section of the route was restored to serve tourism by the tourism sector in coordination with the Vietnam Railway. The service, running from Da Lat to Trai Mat (also in Da Lat city), attracts hundreds of visitors each day.

An old station on the route, with its architecture combining European style with the local traditional “Rong” house , still remains.

The proposed project on restoring the railway in the form of public – private partnership (PPP) will have an investment amounting to more than 1 trillion VND (43.1 million USD), and should be subject to approval by the Transport Ministry, the Government and the National Assembly.

Lam Dong authorities have asked Bach Dang company to study recommendations from the Vietnam Railway Authority and other relevant agencies and complete the pre-feasibility study for submitting to the Transport Ministry. -VNA