A 5.6km line will also be laid between Lao Cai and Hekou County, China, VR chief, Mr Vu Quang Khoi, told VNExpress.

As trains between Lao Cai and Hai Phong can only operate at a maximum speed of 80km/h, the consultancy has suggested upgrading the existing line to standard-gauge or installing a new standard-gauge line which would permit 160km/h operation.

The study is set to be completed this year, and the Ministry of Transport would start looking for investors next year, VNExpress reported.