Cambodia hopes to kickstart rail link to Thailand

Cambodian government officials are set to hold a meeting with the aim of setting a completion date for reopening a long defunct rail link to Thailand. A Public Works and Transport Ministry spokesperson told news sources in Phnom Penh the main stumbling block was relocating residents who lived near the reconstructed tracks.

Most of these are in Banteay Meanchey. This province abuts the nation’s northwest border with Thailand. Once this line is completely open again, it will connect Phnom Penh and Bangkok. The Poipet border crossing in Banteay Meanchey is the gateway to the Thai town of Aranyaprathet.

Ministry spokesperson Ly Borin said once the issue of the residents was sorted out the final pieces of track between Serei Saophoan and Poipet could be relaid. He said he did not know the exact completion date yet.

Train services between Cambodia and Thailand were scrapped in the 1940s and the last stretches of tracks to Poipet ripped up. Services on part of the route continued until 2009, but were also cancelled as the tracks and rolling stock were in such a bad state of repair.

12GO ASIA says the refurbishment of Cambodia’s railways began soon afterwards. Limited services started operating between Phnom Penh and the Gulf of Thailand seaside resort of Sihanoukville last year.

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