SA KAEO: Refurbishing of the train track from Aranyaprathet to the border is now completed, but the planned reopening of the rail link between Thailand and Cambodia will not happen soon.
Aranyaprathet station master Sutthipoj Suwanchawee said the 6.5 kilometre line between Aranyaprathet station and Khlong Luek at the border, adjoining Cambodia's Poipet township, is now ready for use.
However, the State Railway of Thailand must wait for the completion of work on the line on the Cambodian side before train services can recommence, he said.
Train services from Thailand through Aranyaprathet to the Cambodian border province of Battambang were severed during the years of factional fighting in Cambodia, which saw the line fall into disrepair.
It is now planned to resume services, this time also connecting the two capital cities.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Cambodian Premier Hun Sen confirmed the plan during a meeting on the sidelines of the Mekong summit in Phnom Penh on Jan 10, hoping to see the tracks connected by the end of this month and a rail service running between Bangkok and Phnom Penh by 2020.
But they might have to wait a bit longer. The Cambodian Ministry of Public Works and Transport said in a report that the long-delayed repairs to the 130 kilometre track from Battambang to Poipet will not be completed for several more months, according to the Khmer Times.
“We are working hard to complete the western rail line by July,” the Khmer Times quoted Cambodian Transport Minister Sun Chanthol as saying last week.
The Thai-Cambodian train link is part of the regional network to improve transport among Southeast Asian countries and China in a bid to increase trade, investment and contacts.
Trade between the two countries was valued at US$5.5 billion in 2017, a 10% increase year-on-year. The two prime ministers last year pledged to triple bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2020.