Thursday, November 11, 2010

110-km Railway Section from Phnom Penh to Touk Meas Reopened


A 110-km railway section from Phnom Penh to Touk Meas, Kampot province, was reopened last Friday after several months of restoration.

Speaking at the reopening ceremony, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance H.E. Keat Chhon said the restoration of the railroad in Cambodia contributed to the national economic development and the consolidation of regional and global integration, promoting the competition and cost-effectiveness and facilitating railway transportation within Cambodia, the region and the world.

He noted that the railway reopening was the evidence showing the implementation of State-and-private sector mechanism through which the private sector contributes to infrastructure development. The reopened railway section from Phnom Penh to Touk Meas marks the first-phase in the overall restoration of railroads in Cambodia at an estimated cost of US$141.6 millions, in grant and loan, with US$84 millions financed by the Asia Development Bank (ADB); US$21.5 millions as grant by the Government of Australia through AusAID; US$13 millions by OFID; US$2.8 millions in rails donated by the Government of Malaysia; and US$20.3 millions as financial contribution by the Royal Government of Cambodia.

The concession agreement on the first-phase of railroad restoration project was signed between the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Toll Royal Railway in June 2009, under which the Royal Government of Cambodia maintains the ownership of railway infrastructure and the Toll Royal Railway is responsible for railway business operation and maintenance.

The next stages of project are the restoration of 142-km section from Touk Meas to the seaport of Sihanoukville and 338 km railway line in the north from Phnom Penh to Serey Sophoin, and the rebuilding of lost section of 48 km linking Poi Pet to the border with Thailand, and the construction of a new station at Samrong, said Public Works and Transport Minister H.E. Tram IvTek.

ADB Southeast Asia Department Director-General Kunio Senga said the railways have played important role in Cambodia for more than 75 years, and many Cambodians regard the railroad as a symbol of development and means to allow Cambodia to integrate into the neighboring countries in Great Mekong Sub-Region and the world.

He was convinced that two years later, Cambodia’s railway will return to its full, original state and reconnect Cambodia with Thailand.

In the past, the railway played important role in the development of Cambodia, he said, adding that in the future it would be of the same importance to bring about economic development and prosperity to the Cambodians.

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