The railroad networks in Cambodia and Thailand will be officially connected today in a ceremony presided over by the countries’ prime ministers.
The Stung Bot-Ban Nong Ing Friedship Bridge will be inaugurated during the ceremony, which will also see the handing over of a diesel-powered train to Cambodia.
The diesel multiple unit (DMU) is a donation from Thailand. A DMU is a multiple-unit train powered by on-board diesel engines, which requires no separate locomotive.
The DMU has been manufactured by Japan’s Hitachi and comprises four carriages, each able to carry 80 passengers.
Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha will inaugurate the bridge and mark the connection of the countries’ railways by riding a train from Thailand to Poipet city in Cambodia, according to the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation.
Sun Chanthol, the Minister of Public Works and Transportation, and his Thai counterpart are expected to sign an agreement on cross-border transportation by train in upcoming days.
Named ‘northern rail line’, the railroad connecting Phnom Penh and Poipet city, in the border with Thailand, was completed last year. It stretches over 386 kilometres, and will be connected to Thailand’s Aranyaprathet district.
Once the railway systems are connected, passengers and goods will be able to travel from one country to the other by train. This is seen as a key element in boosting trade with Thailand, with the governments of both countries aiming at $15 million in bilateral trade by 2020.
The building and restoration of Cambodia’s northern railway was finished in August last year after years of disuse following damage during the civil war.