Cambodia has officially launched temporary service of the 166-kilometre railway between Phnom Penh capital and Pursat province.
The launching ceremony was held in the presence of Senior Minister and Minister of Public Works and Transport H.E. Sun Chantholand Pursat Provincial Governor H.E. Mao Thonin.
The service is operated free of charge for passenger until the end of July 2018, according to H.E. Sun Chanthol.
Built at a total cost of US$23.4 million, the national budget, the Pursat-Phnom Penh rail line was launched to resume the full operation of the 386-kilometre Northern Line, after its rehabilitation began in 2009. It was originally built and used between 1929 and 1942 during the French colonial era; Cambodia's civil war did not only destroy parts of it, but also led to pause of its operation until now.
The Northern Line is a potential economic route for transportation of Cambodian products to regional markets, H.E. Sun Chanthol underlined, adding that it will also contribute significantly to reducing traffic congestion and accidents and to enhancing the country's competitiveness in terms of transport.
The Northern Line connects Phnom Penh to Poipet, at the border with Thailand, crossing Kandal, Kampong Speu, Kampong Chhnang, Pursat, Battambang, and Banteay Meanchey provinces. Its renovation cost more than US$83 million, of which some US$70 million is the national budget and the rest is from the Asian Development Bank.
Besides the Northern Line, the Southern Line of over 260 kilometres long from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville of Preah Sihanouk province, passing through Takeo and Kampot provinces, has been already renovated and put into operation.
According to H.E. Senior Minister, Cambodia is looking for investors and partners to build some other rails, including Phnom Penh-Snuol-Stung Treng, Phnom Penh-Siem Reap-Serey Sophorn railways, and another one to Vietnam.
Source: Agency Kampuchea Press