All trains heading from the capital toward the southern city had to stop at Bien Hoa Railway Station in Dong Nai, while those running in the opposite direction halted at Saigon Railway Station.

Eighteen train journeys were scheduled on the route on Sunday, of which nine carrying nearly 2,500 travelers departed from Ho Chi Minh City, according to Vietnam Railways (VNR).

At 1:30 pm, about two hours after the bridge collapsed, passengers at Saigon Railway Station were notified that their trains had been postponed due to the unfortunate incident.

Most travelers opted to wait for buses, which would take them to the train station, so that they could continue their journeys, or to return their tickets without any additional costs.

Do Quang Van, branch director of Saigon Railways Transport Company, said that he had been urging bus operators to quickly provide assistance to passengers.

Van added that upon his request, the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport had mobilized all available public buses and other four-wheel vehicles to help alleviate the situation.

The atmosphere at the railway station became more frantic when another train was pulled back to the facility, before hundreds of passengers flocked to ticket counters to get an update on the situation or have their tickets returned.

On the evening of the same day, operators of the train station confirmed that about 1,400 passengers had been taken to Bien Hoa Railway Station while some 1,500 others arrived in Ho Chi Minh City by a similar form of transportation.

About 100 travelers decided to return their tickets, train operators added.

Branch director Van said that he was still waiting for directions from his superiors regarding the best solution.

Unprecedented incident

During an interview with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Doan Duy Hoach, deputy general director of the VNR, said that there have been incidents in which several railway bridges in Vietnam were damaged by ships, causing delays to train operations.

However, the collision that led to the construction falling apart is unprecedented, according to Hoach.

“We will discuss the official solution on Tuesday. As fixing the Ghenh Bridge will take a lot of time, we will need to rearrange all train schedules to suit the current situation,” the general deputy director added.

The bridge, which connects the two shores divided by the Dong Nai River, was hit by a passing barge on Sunday, sending its middle span and three commuters to the water.

The exact number of casualties has not been confirmed yet, according to a police official in Dong Nai.

According to Deputy Minister of Transport Nguyen Hong Truong, it will likely take about three to five months for the bridge to be repaired and for the railway operation to be fully restored.

Tuoi Tre News - March 21, 2016