A comprehensive development of the railway transport system will be a key target of the Vietnam Railway Transport Development Strategy towards 2020, approved on February 10 by the Prime Minister.

The strategy includes development of infrastructure and skillful organisation of transport and services management and exploitation.

It also focuses on activities to maintain order, safety, convenience and effectiveness of the railway transport system nationwide.

Under the framework of the strategy, the railway sector plans to claim 1 to 3 percent of the goods transport market share, and 1 to 2 percent of the passenger transport market share by 2020. In large cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, the sector expects to claim between four and five percent of the market share of the urban passenger transport.

The existing railway routes will be upgraded, with focus on the modernisation of the north-south route, to increase the average train speed to between 80kmph and 90kmph for passenger trains and between 50kmph and 60kmph for goods trains.

The services on the other routes, including the Yen Vien-Lao Cai, Gia Lam-Hai Phong and Hanoi-Thai Nguyen routes, will be upgraded and the transport capacity and quality in the north will be improved. Investment priorities will be given also for upgrading and strengthening the capacity of key railway stations or stations with high passenger traffic, and for minimising step-by-step the number of level crossings (an intersection where a railway line and a road or path meet).

The strategy also targets studies on the construction of a new high-speed 1.435m-gauge railway route, and the electrification of the north-south railway system, in which priority will be given to busy routes such as Hanoi-HCM City, Hanoi-Vinh and HCM City-Nha Trang.

The strategy plans to claim between 3 and 4 percent of the passenger transport market share, 4 to 5 percent of the goods transport market share and 15 to 20 percent of the passenger transport market share in Hanoi and HCM City during the 2020-30 period.-VNA