After years of line refurbishment funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the first commercial train has resumed service on the Southern Line.
Cambodia’s national rail service has resumed operations on the 256 km Southern Line between the capital city of Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville Port. The inaugural journey came after many years of rehabilitation work funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the kingdom’s development partners. “The ADB welcomes this first commercial train service to the Port of Sihanoukville which marks a significant development towards the completion of the long-awaited Pan-Asian railroad – a contiguous “Iron Silk Road” stretching from Singapore to Scotland,” the bank said in a statement.
“The new railway will reduce the cost of staple commodities that poor Cambodian families depend on”, said Minister of Public Works and Transport Tram Iv Tek. “It will also improve road safety by taking dangerous cargoes, such as the fuel trucks driving between the oil terminal in Sihanoukville and Phnom Penh, off the roads.” According to him, it will position Cambodia as a true sub-regional transportation hub, reducing the time and cost of transporting a range of products.
According to the ADB, the 337 km Northern Line linking Phnom Penh and Poïpet, on the border with Thailand, is expected to be opened in several phases between 2014 and 2015. The total project cost of the Greater Mekong Sub-region rehabilitation of the railway project in Cambodia, amounting to 141.6 million US dollars, is financed by an ADB loan of 84 million US dollars, a Cambodian government contribution of 20.3 million US dollars, an Australian grant of 21.5 million US dollars, an OPEC Fund for International Development loan of 13 million US dollars and a Malaysian grant of 2.8 million US dollars.
(Source: Asia Info)