Almost $65 million allocated for railway crossing upgrades

The Ministry of Transport has submitted a report to the Government regarding the implementation of a plan to ensure order and safety in railway corridors, as stipulated in the Prime Minister's Decision No. 994/2014/QD-TTg on ensuring road and railway transportation safety.
Railway sector asked to reform mindset to boost development. (Photo: VNA)
Railway sector asked to reform mindset to boost development. (Source: VNA)

Accordingly, during the 2015 - 2023 period, over 1.6 trillion VND (nearly 65 million USD) sourced from the State budget was spent on upgrading crossings across railway tracks.

From this funding, units completed the upgrading and repair of 226 of 291 railway crossings that violated relevant regulations.

The remaining 65 railway crossings were constructed using various funding sources.

Besides, units upgraded 452 railway crossings with signs to those with automatic barriers and with guards. They have also completed 382 out of 566 crossings with a budget of 600 billion VND.

However, during the 2014 - 2020 period, due to difficulties in funding, the State budget did not allocate resources for compensation and the clearance for railway safety corridors, installation of railway safety corridor markers, construction of road bridges, separate from shared ones with railways, and overpasses on national highways over railway lines. As a result, most of the railway safety projects and transport works outlined in Decision 994 have yet to be implemented.

The Ministry of Transport has recommended the Government issue directives or official dispatches requiring ministries, sectors, and localities to concentrate on effectively implementing the project.

Localities with railways running through have been requested to prioritise funds for constructing crossings and barriers to eliminate unauthorised crossings over railways.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Finance has been asked to prioritise allocating capital sourced from railway economic activities in 2024 and following years to upgrade and fully equip the signaling system at crossings, thus ensuring safety for residents.

The upgrading of level-crossings is an urgent task for the railway sector due to numerous tragic accidents that have occurred at crossroads.

Despite warnings and communication campaigns by local authorities, many people still disregard the dangers and create illegally-established crossings to make travel easier for themselves.

Railway accidents are mainly due to motorbike and car drivers’ poor awareness. At many crossings, when the bell rings, the red light flashes to signal a train’s arrival, but many car and motorbike drivers still try to cross the railway, leading to collisions or even derailment.

The Vietnam Railway Corporation (VNR) plans to continue investing in repairing and adding signals at 200 crossings. It also sent a document to the Ministry of Transport to propose the Prime Minister extend the time for upgrading and installing automatic warning signals at 566 other crossings to the end of 2025.

Phan Quoc Anh, Deputy General Director of the VNR, said that the Prime Minister issued Decision No. 358/QĐ-TTg on a scheme on traffic safety corridor order.

The scheme will handle illegally-established railway crossings and set out a specific roadmap with many infrastructure solutions such as installing fencing and making overpasses and underpasses.

The aim is to eliminate illegally-established crossings on railway lines in the country by 2025.

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(Source: VNA)