The railway line connecting Thailand with Cambodia at Poipet could be rehabilitated, Thailand’s Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said yesterday.
According to the Thai newspaper The Nation, the six-kilometre stretch of track would link the Thai province of Sa Kaew with Cambodia’s yet-to-be restored northern rail line under the Thai government’s $74 billion infrastructure development plan.
Shinawatra saw the potential of the rail link to enhance business interests and tourism between Thailand and Cambodia, The Nation reported.
Peter Brimble, deputy country dir-ector of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which is providing an $84 million loan to the Cambodian Railway Rehabilitation Project, said the ADB had not been involved in the political discussions but it was encouraging to see regional connectivity being enhanced.
“We have not been particularly involved in any of the political discussions about where the bridge is going to go and so on, but that is part of the northern line’s completion, so we would be happy to see those (discussions) going ahead,” Brimble said.
The Cambodian government was unable to add much detail, other than to say it was in continued discussions with Thailand on the railway project.
“Cambodia and Thailand have already worked on this project in the past,” Ly Borin, director of the Transport Ministry’s railway department, told the Post.
The Cambodian railway project has had problems with cost over-runs as well as the displacement and relocation of families living along the line’s route. The government is working with project partners the ADB and AusAid to address these issues.
Although the 256-kilometre southern line, linking Phnom Penh with the port of Sihanoukville, opened in December last year, the 337-kilometre northern line, connecting Phnom Penh with Poipet, is expected to be opened in several stages between next year and 2015.