Travelling by railway from Hanoi to the northwest province of Lao Cai now takes 40 less minutes than it used to, thanks to a project on upgrading the Yen Vien-Lao Cai railway, which had the first phase completed on April 25.

Over 166 million USD has been poured into the project’s first phase, which improved 184 kilometres of railway, built 10 new bridges and upgraded 43 existing ones, among others.

The investment includes 60 million USD sourced from official development assistance loans of the Asian Development Bank, 32 million EUR from the French Agency for Development (AFD) and 31 million EUR from the French Office of the Treasurer and Receiver General (DGTresor).

Speaking at a ceremony to mark the completion of the upgrading in Yen Bai northern province, Transport Deputy Minister Nguyen Ngoc Dong said the 285km railway from Yen Vien (Hanoi) through Yen Bai to Lao Cai province is an important part of the western railway line as well as the transport corridor connecting Hai Phong City (Vietnam) and Kunming (China).

“The railway will facilitate trade between the northwest region and Chinese Yunnan province through cutting transport cost, improving traffic safety and increasing railway transport capacity to meet future demand,” he said.

The second phase of the project will raise the transport capacity on the route to 5 million passengers and 7.5 million tonnes of goods per year, while travelling time will be reduced by 90 minutes.-VNA