Cambodia has reopened the final stretch of a railway running from the capital Phnom Penh to the border with neighbouring Thailand, the first time the line has been operational in 45 years.
The Asian Development Bank provided US $13 million in 2009 to rebuild the missing link which aims to slash travel time between the two countries and boost trade. Cambodian transport minister Sun Chanthol said a train has run from the northwestern province of Pursat to Phnom Penh, the last remaining section of the track between the two countries to be finished.
“This is a historic day for our nation,” Sun Chanthol said. Cambodia and Thailand still have to hash out an agreement on trains crossing the border but Sun Chanthol said the two countries hoped to strike a deal soon. A Phom Pennh to Bangkok Rail connection becomes part of a grander Pan-Asia Railway Network The long-awaited Thai-Cambodian rail project will include a crossing at the Aranyaprathet district of Sa Kaeo; an eastern border Province, located approximately 245km from Bangkok. The project’s goal is to eventually connect Bangkok and Phnom Penh.
An existing railway connects Bangkok to Sa Kaeo. Aranyaprathet Railway Station, but border crossing deal still needs to be made Much of Cambodia’s railways, built by the French during their colonial occupation, were damaged by years of bitter conflict that engulfed the country during the Cold War era. A 48 kilometre portion of the railway near the border was destroyed by war in 1973.
The rest of link to Phnom Penh had been suspended for more than a decade due to the poor condition of the track. Cambodia now has more than 600km of train track extending from its northern border with Thailand down to the southern coast.