Monday, October 25, 2010

Pan-Asian Railway in Cambodia

Cambodia has opened the first stretch of its rehabilitated railway line, an essential part of an effort that will not only boost the country’s economy, but will ultimately connect Singapore with Scotland.

A German-made passenger train moves out of the marshalling yard at Phnom Penh train station this week. You might not think that this in itself is very remarkable, but for Cambodia and the region this marks the beginning of the realisation of a dream: a pan-Asian railway that connects Singapore to China and beyond.

Years of conflict meant Cambodia’s railway was destroyed or heavily damaged, along with much of its infrastructure. But earlier on Friday a group of dignitaries officiated at the opening of the first stretch of rehabilitated railway – a 110-kilometer-long track running south from Phnom Penh to the town of Touk Meas.

"Rehabilitating the train"

David Kerr heads Toll Royal Railway, the company that won the concession to operate Cambodia’s railways for 30 years. Kerr says the next step is to extend the line a further 140 kilometres to the southern port of Sihanoukville.

"We’re rehabilitating the train on the southern line to handle 1,000-meter trains, so we’ve started up cement services, and the container freight business starts in May next year direct on to the port. Then we’ll progressively start operations on the northern line," he explains.

To read more: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6140678,00.html


Toll Royal Railway's passenger train heads south from Phnom Penh along the 110 kilometres of newly-rehabilitated track
Source photo: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,6140678,00.html

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