A train operator was injured and two villagers’ kitchens were destroyed after a Royal Railways freight train derailed after crashing into another in Preah Sihanouk province’s Stung Hav district in the early hours of yesterday morning, according to local police.
Otres Commune Police Chief Nget Lorn said a 43-car freight train was travelling from Preah Sihanouk to Phnom Penh at about 12:30am when it stopped to transfer oil to a Tela petrol factory. The second train crashed into it after coming around a bend, he said.
“Both train operators could not see the railway clearly since the accident site is at a curved road,” Lorn said, adding that witnesses said there was also low visibility at the time due to heavy rain, and that the first train collided with nearby houses after being derailed.
Thiem Vannak, 42, and Neang Mai, 55, said their kitchens and a 2,500-litre water tank were destroyed in the crash but no one was hurt. The operator of the derailed train, 63-year-old Ros Chit, also required three stitches for a cut on his forehead, Lorn said.
Stung Hav District Traffic Police Chief Chuob Nara said that Royal Railways, which holds a 30-year licence to operate Cambodia’s railways, would compensate the families for the kitchen damage. “In this case, no one got hurt seriously,” Nara added.
A traffic police official in Stung Hav said rail staff had come at about 10:30am to take the train engine and cars for repair.
Several Royal Railways trains have been involved in collisions or derailed within the last year. Two men died in separate incidents earlier this year after they fell asleep on railroad tracks and were hit by Royal Railways trains after drinking heavily.
In January, three people were also injured in Preah Sihanouk after a passenger train crashed into a freight train. At the time, the train operator allegedly told police that the crash had been caused by faulty brakes, an account Royal Railways denied. Though an inquiry was promised, the results were never publicly announced.
Royal Railways CEO John Guiry could not be reached yesterday.