In a letter sent on Monday, they asked the authorities to consider letting people run businesses and lead normal lives in accordance with the law without sacrificing the Train Street as a famous tourist attraction.
There are currently around 30 families running cafes right next to the street, which runs through Hang Bong, Cua Dong, Cua Nam, Hang Ma and Dong Xuan wards, according to statistics by Hoan Kiem District. All businesses have violated railways’ safety corridors, meaning there are risks of accidents, the district added.
Last Thursday, district authorities set up barriers along the track and shut down coffee shops along the train street as a safety measure.
While they admitted that business activities along the street are “spontaneous,” locals said they reminded each other to practice safety measures, especially with tourists involved. Outsiders were always reminded by business owners about train schedules, and warned beforehand when they arrived.
From Monday to Friday, the train only runs through the street once a day in the evening, so it is relatively safe. Extra safety measures would be applied in the weekends, as the train runs through more often and during the day.
Locals have proposed several solutions to make the train street a safer destination for everyone.
First, with support from local authorities, people can spread flyers on safety measures along the street in multiple languages, like Vietnamese, English and French. Tourists can then read them and even sign guarantees to follow such measures before entering the train street.
Railway operators can provide technical solutions like slowing the train down and ring bells as an early warning, as well as installing signal lights along the railway and closing barriers earlier before the train runs through, among other measures.
More personnel can also be stationed at each end of the line. The local tourism department can also distribute flyers and have tour guides instruct tourists on site, while also providing certain locations where people can take photographs and still be safe.
Nguyen Anh Quan, deputy chairman of Hoan Kiem District, said the district would look into projects that have to do with the railways and make them tourist attractions, while still making sure they abide by the law and are safe.
On Monday, at a railway barrier on Tran Phu-Ly Nam De, a South Korean tourist made contact with a running train. Authorities said despite an erected barrier, sounding alarms and reminders from the locals, the tourist still breached the barrier to take photos at the train street.
After the collision, the tourist simply got up and left the scene. The train had to be stopped for two minutes.