Cambodia Opens First Part of Asia Railway Connection
Freight rail service has commenced along a 120km section of a new international railroad, which has opened in Cambodia, stretching from Phnom Penh to Touk Meas near the Vietnam border.
The new section is part of the 650km Pan-Asian railroad project, which is currently in various stages of reconstruction and repair, expected to be operational by 2013.
The $141m Pan-Asian railway starts from Cambodia’s border with Thailand, through Phnom Penh and southward to Sihanoukville, Cambodia’s main port.
The project has received $20.3m from the Cambodian Government, $84m from the Asian Development Bank, $13m from the OPEC Fund for International Development, $21.5m from the Australian Government and $2.8m from the Malaysian Government.
The railway rehabilitation project is a vital component of the Greater Mekong southern corridor and is a key component of ASEAN’s Singapore-Kunming rail link project.
Once Cambodia’s new railroad is completed, only one remaining link, between Phnom Penh in Cambodia and Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City, will remain before the Pan-Asian railway is complete.
Cambodia and Vietnam have already signed an agreement to link their railways, and China is supporting a design study on a rail link from Phnom Penh to Loc Ninh in Vietnam.
Australia-based Toll Holdings has been awarded a 30-year contract to operate and maintain the rehabilitated railway system.