Lonely Planet Writer

Thailand and Cambodia agree on new railway link

Thailand and Cambodia agreed to push ahead with the completion of a railway link between their capitals and to move forward on opening more border crossings between the two countries. The agreement would see a train line linking one of the major tourist and trade route in the region, between Bangkok and Phnom Penh.

A passenger getting onto a train in Cambodia in the handiest way
A passenger getting onto a train in Cambodia in the handiest way Image by Vera and Jean-Christophe

The new border crossings will be at Nong Ian-Stung Bot and Ban Pa Rai-O’Neang. Their chief function is to aid  congestion along the  Aranyaprathet-Poipet crossing, a busy route for both countries.

In a joint statement released by Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his Cambodian couterpart Hun Sen, both countries pledged to restore the connecting rail line between the two capitals, pledging that the “train service between Bangkok and Phnom Penh would start operation by the end of 2016.” The two capitals, Bangkok and Phnom Penh have not been joined by a railway line since the Khmer Rouge took over Cambodia 40 years ago. The line has been out of service ever since.

A man sits among the train tracks outside Bangkok
A man sits among the train tracks outside Bangkok Image by garycycles7

The two countries’ pledge to improve the train service and border crossings is good news for travellers, as the improvements will reduce travel times along one of the most popular routes in south east Asia. The agreement between Thailand and Cambodia comes as the two countries celebrate 65 years of diplomatic relations with a renewed avowal to bolster trade.