Monday, 11 May 2009
Written by Chun Sophal
The Phnom Penh Post
A CHINESE company has been awarded a contract to study Cambodia's rail network to Vietnam as part of the Singapore-Kunming railway project, government officials said Thursday.
The project would see China Railway Group study construction of a 255-kilometre stretch of track from Bat Doeng in Kampong Speu to Snuol district in Kratie province at the Vietnamese border. In a separate arrangement, Australia's Toll Holdings is set to renovate and operate the lines from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, and Phnom Penh to the Thai border.
Sokhom Pheakvanmony, director general of Royal Railways of Cambodia, told the Post on Sunday that the Ministry of Public Affairs signed the agreement worth US$2.5 million for carrying out a feasibility study. Experts say the railway could cost more than $700 million to build, with China expected to foot the bill.
We hope that china railway group will start studying the project soon.
"We hope that China Railway Group will start studying the project soon this year," said Sokhom Pheakvanmony.
He added that a detailed study of the project would be finished in between 18 months and two years, after which time they would start building the railway link.
"ASEAN has already linked its entire railway network except for Cambodia, which is the last country to build its portion," said Sokhom Pheakvanmony.
On Thursday, Hu Gian-Wen, a member of China's Foreign Relationship Association, told Prime Minister Hun Sen that China would donate $2.5 million to the project, which would link Cambodia with Loch Minh, Vietnam.
Cambodia has two railroads, one of which links Phnom Penh with the Thai border in Banteay Meanchey province and is 348km in length.
The other line, which links Phnom Penh with Preah Sihanouk province, is 264km long.
Both were built under French rule and are in poor condition.
The 10 member states of Asean, together with China, Japan and Korea, signed an agreement to build the new railroad in 2000.
In total, the railroad would run 5,513km and enable overland travel from Singapore through to Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and China.