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Starting This Month, Hanoians Can Travel All the Way to Beijing by Train

The service began on January 1.

According to Vietnam Investment Review, the national rail operator began a route connecting Hanoi with the Chinese capital that will run twice a week.

Trains depart from Gia Lam Station in the Vietnamese capital on Tuesday and Friday and arrive at Beijing West Station on Thursday and Friday. The return trip leaves Beijing on Thursday and Sunday, arriving in Hanoi on Saturday and Tuesday. 

Passengers can embark or disembark along the way at Dong Dang and Bac Giang stations in Vietnam, as well as Pingxiang, Chongzuo, Nanning and Zhengzhou in China. 

While this may come as good news for rail fans, Vietnam Railways Corporation (VNR) is struggling overall. VnExpressreports that the organization failed to meet its cargo transportation target in 2018, and fell short of its revenue goal in that year as well. 

The rail system, which features over 3,000 kilometers of tracks, faces stiff competition from low-cost airlines and road-based cargo companies. 

Investment in the national rail network, much of which was built during the French colonial era, has been woeful as well. The sector has received just 40% of the state funding intended for business and production activities. 

Meanwhile, officials have been debating the efficacy of a proposed high-speed rail line connecting Hanoi and Saigon. Cost estimates for that project have ranged as high as nearly US$60 billion. 

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