They said that since October 10, the day authorities shut down the busy street that has drawn international headlines and foreign tourists who seek the thrill of seeing a train passing by in close proximity, permanent patrol posts have been set up to ensure the makeshift establishments don’t resume business.

In recent days, tourists who have tried to take photos of the popular ‘train street’ at the Điện Biên Phủ-Phùng Hưng area in downtown Hà Nội have been turned away by officials.

Local police and transport inspectors have regularly carried out inspections and told the households along the train track to not lay out tables and chairs upon the track.

Previously, on October 15, owners of the ‘train café shops’ submitted a petition to authorities, asking for the removal of barriers at rail crossings that were erected five days before.

They also requested permission to continue doing business and said the authorities should craft measures to make sure traffic safety is still upheld while tourism at the unique site could be promoted.

The shop owners promised the cafes will ensure there remains a minimum 1.5m distance between their businesses and the rail track, put up bilingual Vietnamese and English signs, and install speakers to notify customers of approaching trains.

Phạm Tuấn Long, vice chairman of Hoàn Kiếm District People’s Committee, told the media that the district reviewed the petition and sought feedback from transport authorities, and came to the conclusion that traffic safety along the tracks cannot be compromised and the residents’ request to resume business cannot be approved.

The 1.5m distance as suggested by the café shop owners is simply not enough, he said.

Regarding complaints that barriers corralling the two ends of the train track have inconvenienced local residents’ commute, Long said the authorities intend to continue with patrols and keep the barriers up for the time being. — VNS

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