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Hanoi's First Metro Line Begins 20-Day Trial Run

The Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line has commenced a 20-day commercial trial run despite renewed reports earlier this week of the line being delayed for the ninth time.

The metro line is supposedly delayed until next year, yet the 20-day trial run will allow for a supervised inspection of the track, staff and ticketing booths, VnExpress reports. 

Hanoians caught a rare glimpse of the trains operating during a previous test run in March. Apparently, as that test was carried out by Chinese officials and not Vietnamese, some new tests are required, according to the news source. 

Construction on the 13-kilometer track, built by contractor China Railway Sixth Group Co Ltd, began all the way back in 2011 and is now 99% complete. Due to a lack of safety certificates, however, the opening date was recently delayed yet again.

Ever since work began on the Cat Linh-Ha Dong metro line in 2011, the project has faced delays. Both Chinese contractors and Vietnamese officials hoped to get the line operational by the end of this year, but this is now likely to be delayed until next year.

Construction was initially forecast to be completed in 2013 until financial issues with constructors delayed the project until 2017. Project costs have also risen sharply, from US$378 million to US$774 million.

While no sections of Hanoi's metro system are operational yet, city officials are already planning massive extensions for future lines. Municipal leaders presented ambitious plans in a report sent to the National Assembly earlier this week.

Under the proposal, the Cat Linh-Ha Dong Line would be extended farther west to Xuan Mai Town. This would lengthen the line from 14 kilometers to 34 kilometers. Elsewhere, the line set to run from Noi Bai International Airport to Ha Dong District would be extended by nine kilometers to Soc Son District, on the northern outskirts of Hanoi.

Finally, the Nhon-Hanoi Railway Station Line would be a remarkable 30 kilometers longer under the proposal, reaching all the way to Son Tay.

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