Cambodia seeks investors for $4bn railway to Thailand

Cambodia currently has two railways, but trains run at a maximum speed of 40km/h (Io Herodotus/CC BY-SA 4.0)
Cambodia is seeking investors for a $4bn medium-speed railway that will run between Phnom Penh and the Thai border, Global Times reports.

A feasibility study into a 382km line is being carried out by China Communications subsidiary China Road & Bridge. This envisages trains running at up to 200km/h with 33 stations along the way.

Cambodia’s transport minister, Sun Chanthol, called for the funding during a meeting with Thailand’s ambassador to Cambodia.

Earlier this month, International Railway Journal reported that Phnom Penh was seeking a build-operate-transfer agreement with China for the project, which was first announced in January. This would require Chinese funding, to be repaid by fares.

The news came after Hun Sen, the prime minister of Cambodia, visited China earlier this month. A statement issued by both countries said China would support the project’s planning and design.

China offered $44m to fund this work, and also expressed interest in building a light rail line from Siem Reap, near the Ankor Wat temple complex, to the international airport under construction at Chickreng.

It was also announced during the visit that both sides look forward to the line’s connection with the link between China and Thailand, which is presently under construction.

The completion of this network would give landlocked Laos access to Cambodian ports and could in the future be extended to Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam has already announced that it will build a128km-long route linking Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Phuoc province, on the Cambodian border (see further reading).

A railway already runs between Phnom Penh and Poipet, but this would be replaced with a standard gauge electrified line. The project is expected to take around four years to complete.

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