Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Weaknesses of the railway sector and orientations for its development were mentioned by National Assembly (NA) deputies while grilling Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The on June 4.

The, who was the first Cabinet member interpellated by legislators in the NA’s 5th session, highlighted the significant role of the railway systems, especially the North-South route in transport sector, adding that the smooth operation of the system will help ease pressure on road transport.

However, he acknowledged that the current North-South railway is very backward, with some sections built 70-80 years ago without upgrading.

The minister admitted the sector’s shortcomings in its role as advisor for the government and in improving the quality of railway systems.

Currently, there are 5,719 crossings between roads and railway routes nationwide, of which only 1,519 crossings are arranged by the Vietnam Railway Corporation (VNR), while 4,200 others are opened by the community with high risk of incidents despite warning signs, he noted.

The also added that many people have still ignored traffic rules while crossing the railways, leading to accidents.

The Ministry of Transport directed the VNR to hold teleconferences with cities and provinces to deal with problems related to railway transport, while committing with the localities on applying measures to ensure traffic safety at crossings with the railway systems.

Along with designing urgent measures to ensure safety of railway transport, the ministry is also working on a project to build a North-South high-speed railway, which will be submitted to the NA soon, The said.

Regarding the railway project submitted to the NA eight years ago, which has not been  approved, he proposed that the NA gives directions and policies for railway projects, thus speeding up the approval and implementation of the projects, including the North-South railway.-VNA