FRENCH consultancy Systra has started work on a feasibility study for a 14 km east-west light rail line in Hanoi, more than a decade after the Vienamese capital abandoned its last traditional tram route.

Under a contract awarded by the People’s Committee of the City of Hanoi, the study is due for completion in August. The driving factor is a rapid increase in the city’s population, which has risen to 2·7 million since 1999 and is expected to reach 3·6 million by 2010 and 4·5 million in 2020.

The first light rail line would replace bus route 32, and is being designed to carry around 100000 passengers per day.

The route would run from Bac Có on the Red River waterfront through the city centre to new western suburbs in the T