VIETNAM: Ho Chi Minh City Management Authority for Urban Railways has selected a consortium of Shimizu and Maeda Corp to build the underground section of metro Line 1.

The 2·6 km underground section of Line 1 will run from Ben Thanh Market to Ba Son Shipyard with three stations. Work is divided into two packages. Package 1B covers the section from Opera House to Ba Son, including a four-level station at a depth of 40 m at the intersection of Nguyen Hue and Le Loi boulevards. The station is planned for completion in April 2015, with tracklaying due to finish in March 2019.

Contractors for Package 1A, covering Opera House to Ben Thanh Market, are to be selected later this year.

The 19·7 km Line 1 will connect Ben Thanh Market with Suoi Tien. Most of the line will be elevated, including 11 of the 14 stations. The end-to-end journey time will be around 30 min. Maximum speed would be 80 km/h on the underground sections and 110 km/h on elevated track.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held in August 2012. Test running is due to begin in 2019, with the start of service the following year, two years behind the original schedule.

Hitachi is to deliver 17 three-car trainsets, signalling, telecoms, power supplies, platform screen doors, automated fare collection and depot facilities under a ¥37bn contract awarded last year.

Japan International Co-operation Agency will provide 88% of the estimated construction cost of 47tr dong, with the rest coming from the city.

A total of six metro lines are planned for Ho Chi Minh City. Line 2 is under construction, basic designs have been approved for 3A and 3B, and construction of Line 5 is due to begin next year.