New Passenger train in Cambodia connects the Capital to the Coast

Posted in News on April 21st, 2016 by One Greenstone

This April the much-anticipated passenger train service from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville has started to roll.

This will be the first time in 14 years that a passenger service has run on this line with services halted due to the previously derelict state of the railways.

The Cambodian government granted a 30-year concession to The Royal Railways Company to develop rail infrastructure and operations in the country. There are various plans afoot to restore or build lines that would link Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh city in Vietnam and a north to south line for instance as Cambodia seeks to enhance infrastructure to support trade and industry as well as tourism.

The trains on the restored southern line carry about 400 people across five carriages. These are divided into two classes; Regular coach class carriages, which are cooled by fans, and VIP carriages boasting air conditioning.

The line runs for 266km snaking through the country’s tranquil countryside and offers unique snapshots into rural life. This is slow travel at its best. Averaging a speed of only 33km an hour, the trip will take about eight hours. The pleasure is in the surrounding rural landscapes and stunning scenery passing by, coupled with a taste of laid back Cambodian village life during stops along the way. This journey represents one of the more rare opportunities to experience the joy of rail travel through a long lost route through little seen landscapes.

Having boarded in the capital of Cambodia – Phnom Penh you reach Sihanoukville in the South West of the country. It is the top beach destination in Cambodia with several long beaches and bays. Some of the beaches are popular with backpackers and beach bums dotted with simple guesthouses and hotels nearby while others cater for mid to high-end travellers including 5* resorts. However much of this coast remains undeveloped and out of the town unspoilt beaches stretch for kilometres.  Sihanoukville has sea services to some of its 22 outlying islands for more pristine beach stays. Again relatively unspoilt and undeveloped the largest two islands have a good range of accommodation options from budget dorms and guesthouses to villas and luxury resorts.

The train services from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh are currently running daily during the local holiday season departing in either direction in the morning at 0700.

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