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Cambodia to Resume Capital-to-Coast Train Service in April

After 14 years, Cambodia's train cars will once again begin carrying passengers next month.

The 266-kilometer Southern Line, which runs between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, will resume service in April, reports the Phnom Penh Post.

According to Sam Oeun Tith, commercial manager of Royal Railway, the company currently responsible for operating Cambodia's railways, trains will be operational ahead of Khmer New Year, which takes place from April 13 to 16.

“We hope it will be the start of a new history after not having passenger trains for many years,” Tith told the Post. “We plan to run a passenger-only train before Khmer New Year. The [timing] was selected to reduce road traffic during the holiday and reduce traffic accidents.”

Each train will carry approximately 400 passengers in five train cars divided by class. Though prices have yet to be determined, Royal Railway aims to make its ticket prices cheaper than bus tickets.

Travel agents were also quick to praise the news, anticipating regular tourist use. Ang Kim Eang, president of the Cambodia Association of Travel Agents, believes travelers will view train rides to the coast as a preferred means of transportation over buses.

“The road to Sihanoukville is busy and damaged,” Eang told the Post. “If we have passenger train service, it will be a good option. We are ready to promote it and sell tour packages.”

Cambodia's Southern Line service was previously suspended in 2002 after losses caused the railway's equipment to fall into disrepair. Though it reopened to commercial traffic in 2013, Southern Line trains have yet to open to the public. In April, Royal Railway also plans to launch a private charter train service in addition to its standard train services.

[Photo via Flickr user Zoriah]


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