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No end date set for railway line linking Cambodia and Thailand

The railway track in Banteay Meanchey province over the Serei Saophoan river in the city.
The railway track in Banteay Meanchey province over the Serei Saophoan river in the city. Photo supplied

No end date set for railway line linking Cambodia and Thailand

The Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) will hold a meeting with the Banteay Meanchey provincial governor later this week to discuss the status of a railway line linking Cambodia’s capital to neighboring Thailand.

Ly Borin, a spokesman for the transport ministry, said the meeting, to be held on Friday, will aim to determine an end date for the construction works.

“We will choose a specific date to finish the railway project after we solve problems with people who live on the train line in Banteay Meanchey province,” he said, adding that the main sticking point were relocation issues with the some 50 families in the area.

The Serei Saophoan to Poipet link of the railway, which is being upgraded in phases after it was badly damaged in the civil war, began in 2009 and spans 48 kilometres.

“I still cannot say exactly when the railway line will finish. But, when the problems are solved, the construction will be completed soon after,” Borin added.

The long-delayed project pictured here in Serei Saophoan city.
The long-delayed project pictured here in Serei Saophoan city. Photo supplied

The long-delayed 400-kilometre long project, which would eventually connect Phnom Penh to Bangkok, is part of the eastern corridor of the Singapore-Kunming Rail Link, a key link in increasing connectivity among ASEAN member states.

According to Borin, the Cambodian government is stumping up $20 million per year to repair and complete this railway project.

Chan Samleng, director of the railway department at the MPWT, said the railway link would be from Poipet to Serei Saophoan, Battambang, Pursat, and Phnom Penh. Samleng said that it only takes a few months to complete one kilometre of railway, and hoped the train link would be completed in the near future.

Cambodia and Thailand signed a memorandum of understanding on the completion of the railway in 2015, at the time hailing the project as having the ability to run trains to Singapore.

Lach Kimhong, a citizen living in Banteay Meanchey, said the train link could foster increased benefits in relation to both trade and tourism.

“I am hoping this development is completed as I have been waiting to see the completed railway since it started construction in 2009,” he added.

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