Train to China now unpopular because of cost hinh anh 1Expensive fares, cumbersome customs procedures are blamed for a big reduction in passengers travelling to China by train. Photo:
Expensive fares and cumbersome customs clearance procedures are blamed for a big reduction in passengers travelling on the Vietnam-China train in the last three years.

Two diesels, the MR1/T8702 and MR2/T8701, have been plying the Hanoi - Beijing route via Nanning since 2009.

Vice General Director of the Vietnam Railway Corporation, Pham Cong Trinh, said the trains carried about 30,670 passengers last year, about 25 percent less than in 2013.

In the first half of this year, only 17,600 passengers used the border-crossing trains.

Trinh said that it cost about 6.7 million VND (307 USD ) to travel from Hanoi to Beijing and about 8 million VND (366 USD) by plane.

It takes at least 12 hours to travel by train just from Hanoi to China's Nanning city.

Passengers have to check in their entire luggage at Dong Dang Station in Vietnam and Pingxiang Station in China.

Administrative procedure process at the two stations take up to three hours. Only single tickets are offered on the route.

In 2009, Chinese railway operators agreed to reduce the price of train tickets for passengers travelling to Nanning.

"Vietnam and China are negotiating on other reductions for passengers travelling via Nanning to other localities," Trinh said.

"The Vietnamese and Chinese railways are still searching for an agreement on offering return tickets for passengers," he said, adding that the inconvenience was hindering the development of the route.

He said that Vietnam Railway Corporation was seeking a "one door, one stop" mechanism for customs clearances.-VNA