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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Wheels turn on railway revamp

Wheels turn on railway revamp

BY TANG CHHIN SOTHY/ AFP
BY TANG CHHIN SOTHY/ AFP

People ride a "norry" at Tbeng Khpos train station in Kompong Chhnang province. The Asian Development Bank has launched a multimillion-dollar project to restore Cambodia's railways in a key step towards the creation of a regional rail system.

The wheels are in motion to revive the Kingdom’s rundown railroad.

The Asian Development Bank launched a US$42-million loan project to repair Cambodia’s principal rail lines, which have been devastated by years of war and neglect.

 

The funds are intended to mend some 600 kilometers of track and bridges along the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh-Poipet lines, restoring rail traffic between Thailand and Cambodia by 2010, and moving forward the vision of a massive trans-Asia rail network. The first phase of construction will lay track between Sisophon and Poipet.

 

“This is one of the last steps in the creation of a regional railway that will stretch from Singapore to Beijing,” ADB President Haruhiko Kurodan said at a February 18 news conference in Sisophon.

 

Soon trains will be running from Singapore to Sihanoukville, which is Cambodia’s only ocean port and has potential to serve the entire region, Kuroda  said.

 

Huge gaps in the Kingdom’s rail service are currently filled by unofficial bamboo trolleys powered by motorbike engines that carry rural passengers who cannot afford other means of transport.

 

Kuroda, on his first visit to Cambodia, also met with Prime Minister Hun Sen and signed off on a $71.8-million ADB grant and loan package for secondary education, supporting farmers around the Tonle Sap, fostering financial system reform and rehabilitating major roads.

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