PHNOM PENH, April 30 (Xinhua) — Cambodia's passenger train services resumed regular weekend operations between Phnom Penh capital and southwestern Sihanoukville on Saturday after a 14-year hiatus.
In a bid to promote the kingdom's railways, Prime Minister Hun Sen boarded the first train, which ran on the 266-km railroad from the capital to the coastal province.
John Guiry, CEO of the Royal Railway, said the resumption of passenger train services was made after the successful operation of a nine-day trial run early this month.
The services from Phnom Penh to and from Sinanoukville will be operated on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, departing Phnom Penh at 7 am, with two stops in the provinces of Takeo and Kampot, he said, adding that the train from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh also departs at 7 am.
"The one-way ticket price is 6 U.S. dollars," he said. "The wagons can accommodate over 200 passengers and the full journey may take around 7 hours."
Standard cars are equipped with fans, while VIP cars sport air- conditioners, he added.
Tim Malis, a 70-year-old passenger, said she was very happy to see the revival of passenger train services.
"My family members and I chose to go by train because we think that travel by train is safer than travel by taxi," she told Xinhua. "Moreover, train fares are cheaper than those of taxi or bus fares."
The Southeast Asian nation has two lines of railroads. One southern line connects Phnom Penh to the seaport of Sihanoukville, and the other line in the north stretches from Phnom Penh to Poipet City and to Thailand in the distance of 385 km.
The two lines, which had been built between 1929 and 1969, were damaged during decades of civil war.
In 2009, the Asian Development Bank and development partners provided 141 million U.S. dollars to the country for the rehabilitation of the two rail networks.