Train to beat Phnom Penh traffic

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PHNOM PENH, 30 January 2018: Travellers keen to avoid traffic jams will soon be able to commute from downtown Phnom Penh to the city’s airport by train.

A rail link between Phnom Penh’s train station to the airport should start commercial services this April, the Khmer Times reported Monday, quoting the director of the railway department at the Ministry of Public Works and Transport.

It should be up and running by the Khmer New Year, a national holiday that is celebrated in mid-April.

But there are questions about the train’s long-term use to an airport that probably has a lifespan of around five years before a new airport opens in Kandal province.

The Council of Ministers approved recently a USD1.5 billion project to build a new airport in Kandal, around 30 south of the capital near highway 21.  Confirmed 18 January, the project will be funded by Chinese investors.

Covering around 700 hectares, double the area of the present airport it  will be designed to accommodate long-haul aircraft. There have been suggestions that the current airport should remain open for regional and domestic flights. But that appears to be highly unlikely as the nation’s total aviation traffic, passenger and aircraft movements, would not sustain two airports close to Phnom Penh.

However, in the short-term the airport rail line will prosper and make it more convenient for travellers particularly those on a budget.

During the ASEAN Tourism Forum tourism officials from Cambodia failed to answer media questions on what would be the fate of the current airport and if there were plans to redevelop the site once the new project was opened. The airport train project is being undertaken by the Royal Group.

(Source: Khmer Times)