Cambodian passenger trains to resume after 14-year wait
March 9, 2016
Published on Mar 9, 2016
New Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville service expected to launch in April
Passenger trains will start operating in Cambodia next month, for the first time in 14 years.
The Phnom Penh Post reports that a new service from the capital Phnom Penh to the coastal town of Sihanoukville will get underway in April. The newspaper cited Royal Railway, which holds a 30-year concession to operate Cambodia's rail network, as saying that the new services will be launched ahead of the Khmer New Year holiday, which kicks off on April 13.
"We hope it will be the start of a new history after not having passenger trains for many years," said Sam Oeun Tith, commercial manager of Royal Railway. "We plan to run a passenger-only train before Khmer New Year. The [timing] was selected to reduce road traffic during the holiday and reduce traffic accidents."
The new Southern Line stretches 266km between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. Trains will be able to carry approximately 400 people in five carriages, with standard carriages equipped with fans and VIP sections with air-conditioning.
The trains won't be fast however; the Phnom Penh Post reports that the journey will last about eight hours with an average speed of just 33kph. This makes it significantly slower than traveling by road, but Royal Railway insisted that the ride will be "cheaper than the bus service".
As well as offering regular passenger services, Royal Railway is planning to offer private charter services.
"The company has plans to provide a service for clients to rent the train for private tours to enjoy the scenery along the way to Sihanoukville," Oeun Tith told the newspaper.
Cambodia has a total of 612km of railway track, much of it dating back to the French colonial era. But plans are underway to expand and modernize the network. Cambodia is included in the broader Trans-Asian Railway project, with services eventually expected to be launched linking Phnom Penh with the Bangkok and Ho Chi Minh City.
Brought to you by TravelDailyAsia.com