Cambodia’s ‘Bamboo Railway’ Goes Modern
MANILA, PHILIPPINES – 2008-02-18 the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Royal Government of Cambodia launched a project that will restore rail traffic between Thailand and Cambodia by 2010.
The new project will rehabilitate approximately 600 kilometers of track, and reconstruct another 48 kilometers near the Thai border that was completely destroyed during wartime.
ADB is providing a $42 million concessional loan for the project from its Asian Development Fund.
“This is one of the last steps in the creation of a regional railway that will stretch from Singapore to Beijing,” said ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda at the inaugural ceremony in Sisophon, near Cambodia’s border with Thailand.
“Soon, trains will be running from Singapore to Sihanoukville,” he added.
Railway services in Cambodia are presently intermittent, and unofficial trolleys with bamboo floors operate along portions of the railway.
In addition to supporting the repair of tracks and bridges, ADB is providing technical assistance to Cambodia to restructure the railway by appointing an international railway operator to operate, maintain and invest in the railway over the next 30 years.
Investing in rail upgrade, maintenance, and better service delivery will help revitalize Cambodia’s railways, enhance internal commerce and international trade, reduce transport costs, and ease road traffic.
The railway rehabilitation project is a vital component of the Greater Mekong Subregion’s southern corridor, which links Thailand, Cambodia and Viet Nam.