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Lam Dong to Earmark $431m to Restore Defunct Da Lat-Thap Cham Railway

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The unique cogwheel train was originally built by the French almost a century ago, but after 1975 was heavily damaged.

After a meeting between the Lam Dong Provincial People’s Committee, representatives of the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and investors, authorities announced plans for a pre-feasibility study report. The Bach Dang Complex Company proposed the project and will be responsible for a portion of the required budget.

The restoration aims to preserve the architecture, boost tourism and enhance socio-economic development in Lam Dong and Ninh Thuan provinces. It’s expected to cost VND10 trillion (US$431 million).

The 84-kilometer railway that was constructed between 1908 and 1932 originally had 12 stations and two tunnels, connecting Da Lat in Lam Dong Province with Thap Cham in Ninh Thuan, a coastal province. Cogwheel tracks provide the extra traction necessary to successfully traverse the mountainous region which includes the Song Pha Mountain Pass which is 1,500 meters above sea level.

After 1975, much of the track was dismantled and the cars and equipment were used for other purposes. One of the stations, a structure that combines European and Central Highland aesthetics, remains partially intact; and in 1991, authorities restored a seven-kilometer section connecting Da Lat Station to Trai Mat Station.

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