Groundbreaking ceremony for the future Ho Chi Minh City metro Line 1.

VIETNAM: Transport Minister Dinh La Thang and representatives from the Japanese embassy attended a groundbreaking ceremony for the future Ho Chi Minh City metro Line 1 on August 28.

Completion is planned for late 2017, with six months of testing and commissioning to be followed by regular services in 2018.

The first 17·1 km elevated section of Line 1 between Ben Thanh Market and Suoi Tien Park with 11 stations is to be designed and built by a consortium of state-owned Civil Engineering Construction Corp No 6 and Japanese firm Sumitomo Corp, under a 15·3tr dong contract signed on May 16.

Separate contracts are to be awarded for a 2·6 km underground section from Ben Thanh Market to Bason Shipyard with three station. A third contract will cover railway systems.

Initial daily ridership is predicted at 186 000 passengers, rising to 620 000 by 2020 and 1 million a day by 2040. Trains will run at up to 110 km/h on the elevated sections and 80 km/h underground, with headways of around 5 to 6 min.

The total cost of Line 1 is estimated at 47tr dong, of which 88% will come from Japanese official development assistance funds.

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