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Trains off track

Trains off track

The obvious lack of spare parts and frequent guerrilla attacks help endorse the claim

by Cambodia's railway system to the biggest transportation problems in the country.

Two decades of war and disruption have left the state railways with just a skeleton

service that needs a $40 million cash injection just to maintain present schedules.

Every train mounts a heavily-armed guard to repel Khmer Rouge attacks as it travels

across the countryside at an average speed of 25km.

Guerrillas have blown numerous sections of track and dozens of bridges. The few left

standing shake violently with the passage of each train.

Since 1979, nearly 1,000 passengers have been killed in 268 mine explosions and 112

bridges have been destroyed.

Cambodia's rail network consists of 649km of serviceable track.

Some 59 locomotives and 280 carriages carry more than two million passengers and

350,00 tonnes of goods each year.

About 30 percent of Cambodia's two main lines are damaged. Between Phnom Penh and

the Thai border, there are 385km of serviceable track through Kompong Chhnang, Pursat

and Battambang provinces.

The line linking the capital to the country's main port at Sihanoukville currently

has 264km of serviceable track while 45km of line between Sisophon and Poipet has

been completely destroyed .

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