North-South trains resume operation post-lockdown

Created 14 October 2021
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After nearly two months of suspension, the first trains of the North-South railway resumed operation on Wednesday, departing the Saigon Station to bring over 400 passengers home.

North-South trains resume operation post-lockdown

At 5 a.m. Wednesday, people flock to the Saigon Station in District 3 to embark onto the SE8 train with the end station in Hanoi.

It's the first North-South service train line to operate again, following nearly two months of suspension due to the impacts of Covid-19.

Passengers coming to the station must sign a document to guarantee that they've been vaccinated and they agree with quarantine measures at their destinations.

Nguyen Thanh Van sits down a staircase to sign the paper before returning to his hometown in the central province of Khanh Hoa.

"Four months prior, I traveled to Saigon for medical treatment, and I was stuck here until now. I've been fully vaccinated, so I only have to self-isolate myself for a week," he said. 

At 5:30 a.m., employees begin to check passengers' tickets and other relevant documents.

Passengers must have their body temperatures checked and have either "Covid-19 green passes" or Covid-19 vaccination certificates available. Negative coronavirus tests within the last 72 hours are also required. Anyone who doesn't meet all requirements would not be allowed on board. 

Do Quang Van, branch director of the Saigon Railway Transport, said 142 passengers out of 428 on board signed up to depart from Ho Chi Minh City after only one day of selling tickets. Most of them would end up in central and northern Vietnam.

Nguyen Thi Thanh, an employee at the station, checks the ticket and other relevant documents of a passenger.

"I've had to stay off work for two months due to the pandemic. Throughout the last 12 years, I've never been off work for so long. The first day I got to return to work and meet my colleagues and passengers, I was so happy," Thanh said.

According to the Saigon Railway Transport company, each train has nine cars: two with seats and seven with beds. There are also special trains reserved for passengers from high-risk areas. 

Tran Thi Hong Nhung, 29, calls her husband with her daughter on her laps, informing him that they've been on board safely.

"I came from [the central province of] Quang Binh to Ho Chi Minh City to work as a kindergarten teacher for the past six years. For the past few months, schools have been closed. I miss my hometown so much I purchase tickets the moment trains get running again," she said, adding that her husband stays back in Ho Chi Minh City to work, and she and her daughter would return once schools reopen.

At 6 a.m., the SE8 train leaves the Saigon Station. Along the way, it would stop at 23 stations.

More trains would also be available to serve rising travel demands, said the Saigon Railway Transport company.

Some passengers could not get on board due to lacking certain requirements like being fully vaccinated or valid negative coronavirus tests.

Phan Thi Hang (pictured), 29, said she has only received one Covid-19 vaccine shot, so she was not allowed to board the train back to her hometown in Nghe An in north central Vietnam. Hang said she came to Binh Duong that borders HCMC as an informal worker, while her husband is a construction worker. While she and her child intended to go back to their hometown, her husband would stay back so he could pay off rent of the past few months.

"I'm calling for my husband to come pick me up. I did not look up regulations carefully so my hands are tied. I would have to wait for a different opportunity," she said. 

In Hanoi, at 11:45 a.m., a train from Hai Phong reaches the Long Bien Station. It is the first train to arrive in the capital ever since railway transport is allowed to re-operate.

An employee at the Long Bien Station in Hanoi checks the papers of a passenger upon exiting the train: a vaccination certificate and a negative coronavirus test. 

North-South trains resume operation post-lockdown

Hoa is one among 36 passengers who return to Hanoi from Hai Phong, three months after she left the capital to evade the coronavirus.



Source: VNE

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