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Vietnam revives $58bn high-speed rail project despite cost hurdle

Hanoi seeks funding plan for north-south line serving economy and unity

A train passes through downtown Hanoi. Traveling by rail from the Vietnamese capital to Ho Chi Minh City in the south takes more than 30 hours.   © Reuters

HANOI -- Vietnam has resurrected a high-speed rail project intended to link the country's north and south, but the fiscal concerns that killed the proposal earlier this decade continue to haunt government efforts to fund the $58 billion plan.

The express railway would connect the capital of Hanoi in the north with commercial center Ho Chi Minh City in the south, slashing travel time from over 30 hours by conventional rail to five and a half hours via trains capable of traveling 350 kph. A one-way trip would cost $50 to $90, a source said, or about half the price of a plane ticket.

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