Swiss firm eyes Vietnam’s Thap Cham-Da Lat railway restoration

Swiss railcar manufacturer Stadler is seeking Vietnamese authorities’ greenlight to supply rack-and-pinion vehicles and other rail transport solutions to a project restoring the Thap Cham-Da Lat railway, which runs from south-central Ninh Thuan Province to the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong.

Vietnamese Prime Minister PHẠM Minh Chính (first row, 1st) inspects the status of the Da Lat railway station during his business trip to Lam Dong Province in November 2022. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Stadler Rail is one of the world’s top manufacturers of electric trains that provide railway transport solutions in harsh weather conditions and for hydrogen trains.

The Thurgau-based firm told the administration of Lam Dong that it is taking the lead in the world’s rack-and-pinion rail industry, Tuoi Tre News reports.

In July last year, the Vietnamese Ministry of Transport turned on the greenlight for Bach Dang Hotel Complex Trading-Service JSC to submit a pre-feasibility study on restoring the 84km-long Thap Cham-Da Lat railway under the public-private partnership format, at a cost of VND24.92 trillion (over US$1 billion).

According to the prefeasibility report submitted last December, a state budget investment of around VND2.1 trillion ($92 million) is required for site clearance.

The project would be implemented between January 2025 and June 2029, while its trial operation is scheduled for the second half of 2029, the report suggested.

The Da Lat railway station, part of the Thap Cham-Da Lat railway, is serving tourism. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The Thap Cham-Da Lat railway was built by the French from 1908 to 1932.

After Vietnam was reunified in 1975, most of the rails and sleepers on the track were removed. Only the 6.7km-long Trai Mat-Da Lat section in Lam Dong was kept to serve tourism.

A Swiss company then bought and renovated a number of railcars from the railway to carry passengers through the Alps and the Furka Pass in Europe.

Tuoi Tre News