Crossing Cambodia

Monday, August 28, 2006


Coming up in September, a unique chance to buy a national rail system. From the Cambodian Daily (August 26-27, 2006):

Cambodia’s dilapidated railway service, which currently runs a total of one passenger train per week between Phnom Penh and Battambang, is slated to be privatized by the middle of next year, Royal Railway Director Sokhom Pheakavanmony said Friday. On Monday, the government and Asian Development Bank are scheduled to finalize a $67 million loan to renovate the railroad, he said. The loan will be used to complete the so-called missing link from Sisophon town to Poipet in Banteay Meanchey province. Eventually the track will link to the Thai rail system, but a completion date has not been set yet, Sokhom Pheakavanmony said. In the meantime, he said, the government will put the train system up for privatization. ‘The official announcement for public bidding is in September and the submission of a list of companies to the ADB in November,’ he added. French Transport Minister Dominique Perben, set to arrive in Phnom Penh on Friday evening, will also discuss possible French aid for the railway with Minister of Public Works Sun VChanthol, officials said. (Kay Kimsong)


  • In the region there are only state run railroads, why the insistence on privatizing?
  • Who could be possible interested in a run down rail system with the capacity of 1 train per week?
  • From an earlier posting:
    "It's time to repair the railways. If not, the train system will die - you can see trains derailing every week" said Yin Bunna, director of the railway rehabilitation project for the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT).
    If there is only one train per week, how can there be trains derailing every week?
  • Apparently the $67 million dollars will also be used for overhauling the line so as to enable (weekly?) passenger services with speeds of up to 50 (!) km/hour.
  • Why this emphasis on rail? In surrounding countries rail services are, with the exception of urban Malaysia, insufficient to meet consumer demands, on most lines in Thailand there is only a daily service. Just a month ago Crossing Cambodia had the privilege of taking an overnight train from Hat Yai Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, mostly empty and extremely noisy. How can one expect to make such an experience into a profit? How can profit making by rail contribute to meeting the nation’s expectations?
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