PM to Travel by Train to Sihanoukville

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Goverment officials tour the train last week. Premier Hun Sen will travel by train to Sihanoukville on April 30 and will meet with workers there on May 1, which is International Labor Day. Supplied

In an effort at promote the Kingdom’s railways, Prime Minister Hun Sen will travel from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville by train on April 30, and has promised to post many pictures of his travels on Facebook.  
Speaking at a cabinet meeting on Friday, the premier said he will be accompanied to Sihanoukville by Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol.
“I want to see how good, comfortable Cambodia’s train is. I want to promote transportation by train,” the prime minister said.
After several years of renovation of both the southern train line from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville and the northern line from Phnom Penh to Banteay Meanchey province, the southern line was opened to the public on April 9.
According to the Ministry of Public Works and Transport website, Mr. Chanthol also met Royal Railway CEO John Guiry on Friday to discuss the railway’s ongoing operations.
Mr. Guiry said that trains from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville run three days a week, from Friday to Sunday, leaving the station in Phnom Penh at 7 am and taking about seven hours to reach Sihanoukville, stopping first in Takeo and Kampot provinces.   
Mr. Guiry said the train’s five cars have combined seating for about 200. Standard cars are equipped with fans, while VIP cars sport air-conditioners. The train runs daily, but Monday through Thursday operates solely as a means of transporting freight; this service, however, is not yet entirely smooth.
“The minister promised to work closely with Royal Railway to improve train services with the aim of reducing the price of transportation in Cambodia,” the ministry website reads.   
During the cabinet meeting, Mr. Chanthol also discussed expediting the renovation process of the northern line from Phnom Penh to the Cambodia-Thai border at Poipet.
The 266 kilometers of the southern line from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville was out of service for three decades before being restored by Royal Railway, which has a concession from the government to operate the line for 30 years.
Mr. Hun Sen said that on May 1, he will meet Cambodian workers at the Sihanoukville port to celebrate International Labor Day.

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