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Ho Chi Minh City - Can Tho railway
What a Mekong Delta railway system would look like if Vietnam built its proposed railways.
Continuing the series on future railway projects of Southeast Asia, this week looks at the proposed Ho Chi Minh City - Can Tho railway, and other railways that are associated with this line in the Mekong Delta.
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A guide to the planned Ho Chi Minh City to Can Tho railway and other proposed railways in the Mekong Delta.
Like every other new railway in Vietnam, the HCMC - Can Tho railway has been stuck in proposal mode since is was first announced in 2006. The last announcement was in 2019, and now with the pandemic complicating things who knows when it will actually get the go ahead to start.
In addition to the main HCMC-Can Tho line, there have also been proposals for a Can Tho - Ca Mau line, and a Can Tho - Phnom Penh line. These projects have been announced separately over the years, but never visualised as a grand Mekong Delta railway system.
This map shows real proposals blended in with currently operating railways.
[Southern Vietnam and Cambodia Railways Concept Map. View full size here. ]
For my mapping project I’ve stuck to actual proposed railways, so this map is not just a fantasy map that I’ve drawn (unlike my HCMC fantasy map).
These other railways are unlikely to happen, especially when the main HCMC-Can Tho line is proving so difficult to approve.
Vietnam is being left behind when it comes to railway development in Southeast Asia. It’s the third largest country by population, but it hasn’t built a new railway line since the 1960’s. Indonesia is building new lines, the Philippines is on the cusp of starting a new project, and even Laos is getting a new railway.
Of course Vietnam started further back than any other country and it’s still catching up after decades of economic exile. There will come a time though when it will need to start building railways again. That is a topic for another post.
Southeast Asia Railways
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Speaking of Can Tho and Ca Mau, there is now a plan to build an expressway between the two cities. If there was ever a railway it would most likely follow this alignment.