Phnom Penh-to-Poipet Rail Line’s Target Uncertain

Plans to complete the railway line connecting Phnom Penh to Poipet City—thereby linking Cambodia’s main port in Sihanoukville to Thailand—may not be completed within current time and budget constraints, a Transport Ministry official said on Tuesday.

Ly Borin, director of the ministry’s railway department, said the government would continue to work toward the goal of finishing the line by late 2016—an aim reiterated during a meeting between the Cambodian and Thai foreign ministers this week—but that he was “unsure” whether the deadline would be met.

“We will try to build the railway to connect Cambodia and Thailand by late 2016, but I am not sure we can do it,” he said, explaining that the only funds available this year were $20 million from the Finance Ministry.

Plans to overhaul the rail line were put on hold after Cambodia failed to secure funding from foreign donors, and the government decided last year to foot the bill for repairs that will allow trains to travel at about 15 kph, well under the 50 kph initially envisioned.

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