14 December 2016: Today the Khmer Times reported that during a meeting between Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha and Hun Many, Cambodian MP and son of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, the Thai Government has offered to give Royal Railways, operators of train services in Cambodia, a Thai train to use on the nearly finished railway track linking the to countries by rail for the first time since the 1970s.
As reported by Thailand Trains on the 10th July 2016, a 6.5 Km rail link is under construction between Aranyaprathet in Thailand and Poipet In Cambodia. The eventual plan is to repair the existing track between Poipet and Phnom Penh eventually linking Bangkok to the Cambodian capital. The Aranyaprathet border is already a popular crossing point between the two countries with Thai tourists taking advantage of the many casinos and other entertainment venues in Poipet and with foreigner visitors using the crossing for onward travel to Siem Reap, the town nearest to the ancient city of Angkor Wat.
In separate news, King Norodom Sihamoni of Cambodia has announced he will travel on the new railway service between Phnom Penh and the coastal resort of Sihanoukville. Mr Ho Vandy, Secretary General of the Cambodia National Tourism Alliance, who made the announcement on behalf of Cambodia’s monarch stated that the purpose of the king’s trip on Cambodia’s newly restored southern train line was promote railway services in Cambodia to local and foreign tourists. The train journey from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville takes around 7 hours 30 minutes with trains currently operating on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. This train service is at present a leisure activity in its own right, although slower than taking a bus which can complete the journey between Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville 3 hours quicker than the train.