Royal Railways of Cambodia has no plans to re-instate passenger train service to
Sihanoukville, although the line is still used for cargo.
Pheakavanmony, president of Royal Railways, said the company is not considering
restarting passenger travel along the once-popular, scenic
Authorities stopped running passenger cars on the Sihanoukville
line in 2002, when the department was forced to become a state public enterprise
and thus operate more like a private business, Pheakavanmony said.
"Because the rail condition is not good and the government repaired
[National Road 4], people thought it wasn't so fast to go by train," he said.
"Every month we were losing money from loss of passengers."
operators of National Road 4, the AZ company, have recently hiked tolls on the
Pheakavanmony pointed out that the rail operator's
only other line - Phnom Penh to Battambang - has managed to retain its passenger
service because many rural travelers have no better option.
for the poor people, and the roads [to Battambang] aren't as good,"
Despite the halting of passenger railway service to
the popular tourist destination, some travelers still find their way to the
beach by rail. Ticket-vendors intermittently sell spots on the cargo trains,
charging 60 riel per km for foreigners and 23 riel per km for locals, said Reth
Boeun, director of the Exportation Department, part of the Royal
Trains generally take around five Cambodian passengers, with
the occasional foreigner.
"But we don't like to sell tickets to
foreigners," Boeun said. "The times aren't fixed so they might arrive late at
night when it's dangerous."
The Sihanoukville line gained international
notoriety in 1994, when Khmer Rouge soldiers ambushed the train, killing 13
Cambodians as well as kidnapping and eventually murdering three western