Thailand, Cambodia reopens railway lines after 45-year hiatus

VNA
 Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his Cambodian counterpart Samdech Techo Hun Sen co-presided over the inauguration of a friendship bridge and the reopening of railway lines connecting Aranyaprathet district in Thailand's eastern Sa Kaeo province and Poipet city in Cambodia's Banteay Meanchey province.

Illustrative photo (Source: khmertimeskh.com)

Illustrative photo (Source: khmertimeskh.com)

At the ceremony, the two PMs witnessed the signing of a bilateral agreement on cross-border train service and the handover of a diesel-engine locomotive with four passenger carriages to Cambodia.

The Thai-Cambodian train service was first opened in 1942 and terminated in 1974. In 2015, the Thai and Cambodian governments signed a memorandum of understanding on the return of the cross-border train service for which a joint working committee was set up.

Cambodia has two lines of railroads - a 386-km northern line running from Phnom Penh to Poipet town, and a 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 re-launched 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 leaders also inaugurated a 620-meter Cambodia-Thailand Friendship Bridge, linking Stung Bot in Poipet and Ban Nong Ian in Aranyaprathet.

According to Thailand’s Department of Foreign Trade, cross-border trade between the two nations reached 145 billion baht in 2018, 62 percent of which came from transactions through the Aranyaprathet-Poipet border.

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