Cambodia-Thailand railway lines reconnected after 45 year hiatus

Tuesday, 2019-04-23 11:25:49
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The PMs of Thailand and Cambodia presided over the ceremony reconnecting both railway networks between Poipet town railway station in northwest Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey province and Ban Khlong Luek railway station in Aranyaprathet district in east Thailand's Sa Kaeo Province. (Photo: Xinhua)
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The railway lines between Cambodia and Thailand were officially reconnected on Monday (April 22) after a 45-year hiatus.

Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen and Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha presided over the ceremony reconnecting both railway networks between Poipet town railway station in northwest

Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey province and Ban Khlong Luek railway station in Aranyaprathet district in east Thailand's Sa Kaeo Province.

Hun Sen and Prayut rode a historic train together across the border from Thailand's Ban Khlong Luek station to Cambodia's Poipet station after they witnessed the signing ceremony of a bilateral agreement on cross-border transportation by train.

At the event, Prayut also handed over a diesel-powered locomotive with four passenger carriages to Cambodia.

Speaking at the ceremony live televised on the National Television of Cambodia (TVK), Hun Sen said it was a historic day that the rail links between the two countries were reconnected after being cut off in 1974 due to Cambodia's internal conflicts.

He expressed his profound gratitude to Thailand for helping build a 43-km stretch of railway and donating the train engine with four carriages to Cambodia.

Each carriage can be seated by 80 passengers, he added.

"I hope that the cooperation between our two countries in transportation by train will get successful," Hun Sen said.

He said the railway service will facilitate the flow of trade and people between the two countries and it is an effective, cheaper and safer mode of transport.

"Reconnecting railroads between Cambodia and Thailand not only contributes to the development of economies in the two countries, but also expands railway connectivity in ASEAN and in the Greater Mekong Subregion," he said.

Prayut said the railway reconnection will contribute further to boosting border trade and transport between the two neighbors.

"It's a new testament to the good relations between our two counties," he said.

Cambodia has two lines of railroads -- the 386-km northern line running from Phnom Penh to Poipet town, and the 266-km southern line linking Phnom Penh with the coastal province of Preah Sihanouk.

The two lines, which had been built between 1929 and 1969, were damaged during decades of civil war.

The passenger train service between Phnom Penh and Preah Sihanouk province was relaunched in 2016, while the building and restoration of the railroad between Phnom Penh and Poipet town were finished in July last year.

Before the cross-border train reopening ceremony, the two prime ministers also inaugurated a 620-meter Cambodia-Thailand Friendship Bridge, linking Stung Bot in Poipet and Ban Nong Ian in Aranyaprathet.

Xinhua