The missing 48-kilometre stretch of railway that connects Cambodia to the Thai border has been rebuilt, 45 years after it was destroyed in the 1970s during the Cambodian civil war. The segment is part of Cambodia’s Western Line. The route was originally built back in 1942 during the French colonial rule, linking the capital Phnom Penh to Poipet situated in the border with Thailand.
As reported by Khmer Times, the passenger train service between Poipet and Sisophon, the capital of Banteay Meanchey province, was inaugurated on Wednesday, April 4 2018. The distance between both cities takes approximately 1 hour time, as trains run at an average speed of 40 km/h.
The service is managed Royal Railway, the company that outsources the railway operations in Cambodia under an exclusive concession from the Royal Government. The rail operator announced that the passenger service will be free for the first 3 months during a trial period.
Former Poipet railway station
Former Sisophon railway station
The rest of the Western line is still under reconstruction and will reopen in stages. Following Poipet to Sisophon, the next stage will be Sisophon to Battambang, due to be opened by the end of April. The third stage will be Battambang to Pursat by May. The final stage from Pursat to Phnom Penh could be completed before the end of the year, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.
In the future, Cambodia’s Western line could be connected with Thailand’s Eastern line, providing a seamless connection between Bangkok and Phnom Penh, however it might take a couple of years to see this project realized. In an interview with local newspapers, Cambodian Minister Sun Chanthol said negotiations with Thailand are still necessary to clear border-related issues.
Railway Network in Cambodia to Vietnam
Furthermore, VnExpress quotes plan to link the railway network in Cambodia to Vietnam through Bavet city in Svay Rieng province then extend it to Ho Chi Minh, as part of the ambitious Kunming – Singapore railway project interconnecting China and ASEAN. The two governments are now conducting feasibility studies for the construction of the 250 km rail line.
Baolau is an official ticket agent of Royal Railway and currently provides online ticket booking for the Southern line connecting Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville. Additionally, Baolau facilitates ticket reservation for State Railway of Thailand and Vietnam Railways.