Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rail network revamp closer

Rail network revamp closer

Rail network revamp closer

Railway officials have confirmed that several projects are in the pipeline to restore

the country's dilapidated rail network and its redundant steam trains.

Among those likely to go ahead is a bid to rehabilitate the "severely damaged"

Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville line, said Sokhom Pheaka-vanmony, director of Cambodian

Royal Railways.

He said a delegation from Japan's Railway Technical Services recently undertook a

second visit to the country to assess the feasibility of repairing the line.

"We hope to receive a grant from the Japanese government," said Pheakavanmony.

"I believe Japan will not abandon this project."

The first visit by the team to examine the crumbling rail infrastructure took place

in 1999. That was followed by a grant request to the Japanese government for $11.4

million.

The money, said Pheaka-vanmony, would pay for the first phase of the project, which

would involve repairing the 50 kilometer stretch between Sihanoukville and Kampot,

including restoring six damaged bridges.

Cambodia's railways were badly damaged in the 1980s and 90s, when the Khmer Rouge

regularly ambushed trains and destroyed rail lines.

As part of a separate French-backed project, the country's redundant steam trains

and passenger carriages will be restored with the help of a six million euro grant

pledged by France. In the past ten years the country has switched from steam trains

to diesel, which are cheaper and more reliable.

"That study was completed and we are waiting for an answer from the French government

on the grant," said Pheakavanmony.

Chief of planning at the railways, Nhek Thivuth, said rehabilitating Cambodia's railways

was essential to complete the regional rail link revived at the recent ASEAN conference

in Brunei. That would allow passengers to travel uninterrupted from Singapore through

Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to China and beyond.

Thivuth has attended several meetings in Malaysia in the past year to discuss the

topic. He said predictions showed that cargo and passenger transport carried by rail

would increase in the future.

"During the meetings we talked about the condition of the railways in our country,"

he said. "We also discussed what should be done to deal with illegal immigrants

at border checkpoints."

ASEAN's project to link the nations was discussed at a separate meeting in Vietnam

earlier this year. Thivuth said the project would require building a new track 255

kilometers in length linking Kampong Speu with Vietnam. That, he said, would require

the assistance of foreign aid or a loan.

MOST VIEWED

  • Kem Sokha’s daughters slam ‘liar’ Sam Rainsy over ‘smears’

    The daughters of former opposition leader Kem Sokha hit out at Sam Rainsy on Tuesday, accusing the newly nominated “acting president” of the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) of leading a “smear campaign” against their father and “repeatedly lying to the public”. The Supreme Court-dissolved

  • US Embassy urges reconciliation

    The US has urged Cambodia to restore the independence of the media, drop charges against Kem Sokha and other political prisoners, and end the prohibition of political activity by opposition parties. However, senior government officials see the request, issued by US embassy spokesman Arend C

  • Government deports 235 Chinese scammers

    THE Immigration Department of the Ministry of Interior on Thursday deported 235 Chinese nationals, 35 of whom were female, via the Phnom Penh International Airport for their part in a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) online money extortion scam. The deportees were arrested on November 26 over the

  • Phnom Penh authorities ban march for Human Rights Day

    Phnom Penh authorities have banned a planned march as local NGOs and workers’ unions gear up to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on Monday, with a youth group leader saying they would march nonetheless. The UN