Cambodia had two rail lines, both originating in Phnom Penh, totaling about 612 kilometers of single, one-meter-gauge track. The French built the first line, which runs from Phnom Penh to Poipet on the Thai border, between 1930 and 1940 (Phnom Penh Station opened in 1932) the final connection with Thailand has been done by Royal State Railways in 1942. However, the service from Bangkok to Battambang was suspended on December 17, 1946 -> the day French Indochinese Government resumed sovereignty over Battambang and the Sisophon area. (Thailand was seen as a supporter of Khmer Issarak, the anti-French, Khmer nationalist political movement.)
Assistance from France, West Germany, and the People's Republic of China, between 1960 and 1969, supported the construction of the second line which runs from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville at the southern coast to cut down the reliance on Saigon Port of Vietnam and Khlong Toei Port of Thailand. In 1960, Australia provided four 3rd class passenger carriages under the Colombo Plan. Rail service ceased during the war but resumed in the early 1980s. Guerrilla activities, however, continued to disrupt service.
However, the service between Phnom Penh to Battambang has been reduced from daily to weekly service due to the lack of funds to maintain the tracks and rolling stock .... even the new diesel-electric locomotives from China cannot run on the tracks due to the dilapidated condition. Derailing of trains in operation are not infrequent.
The bamboo railway as it is known to overseas visitors, "nori" or " "lorries" as it is known to locals is a popular form of transport in the North west of the country near Battambang. The trains consist of a bamboo-covered platform and two detached axles with wheels. They run on regular tracks and are powered with Briggs & Stratton type air-cooled gasoline engines, adapted from portable electricity generators. Power is transmitted by belt and pulley. Trains can reach up to 40 km/h. When meeting traffic in the opposite direction, passengers are expected to lift the platform and axles off the tracks to let the other "train" pass.
Of the current total, only about 50 percent of the roads and highways were covered with asphalt and were in good condition; about 50 percent of the roads were made of crushed stone, gravel, or improved earth; and the remaining approximately 30 percent were unimproved earth or were little more than tracks. In 1981 Cambodia opened a newly repaired section of National Route 1 which runs southeast from Phnom Penh to the Vietnamese border. The road, which suffered damage during the war years, was restored most probably by Vietnamese army engineers. In the late 1980s, Cambodia's road network was both underutilized and unable to meet even the modest demands placed upon it by an unindustrialized and agriculture society (see fig. 8.). Commercial vehicles, such as trucks and buses, were insufficient in number and lacked the spare parts necessary to keep them running. Road construction and maintenance were ignored by a financially hard-pressed government, while insurgents regularly destroyed bridges and rendered some routes unsafe for travel.
Cambodia is upgrading the main highways to international standards and most are vastly improved from 2006. Most main roads are now paved. And now road construction is on going from the Thailand border at Poipet to Siem Reap (Angkor Wat).
|National Highway 1||10001||167.10 km||Phnom Penh||Vietnam Border|
|National Highway 2||10002||120.60 km||Phnom Penh||Vietnam Border|
|National Highway 3||10003||202.00 km||Phnom Penh||Veal Rinh|
|National Highway 4||10004||226.00 km||Phnom Penh||Sihanoukville|
|National Highway 5||10005||407.45 km||Phnom Penh||Thailand Border|
|National Highway 6||10006||416.00 km||Phnom Penh||Banteay Meanchey|
|National Highway 7||10007||509.17 km||Skon Veun Sai||Laos border|
|National Highway 11||10008||90.00 km||Neak Leung||Thnal Totoung|
The nation's extensive inland waterways were important historically in domestic trade. The Mekong and the Tonle Sap Rivers, their numerous tributaries, and the Tonle Sap provided avenues of considerable length, including 3,700 kilometers navigable all year by craft drawing 0.6 meters and another 282 kilometers navigable to craft drawing 1.8 meters. In some areas, especially west of the Mekong River and north of the Tonle Sap River, the villages were completely dependent on waterways for communications. Launches, junks, or barges transport passengers, rice, and other food in the absence of roads and railways.
According to the Ministry of Communications, Transport, and Posts, Cambodia's main ferry services crossing the Bassac River and the middle Mekong River at Neak Leung , Tonle Bet, Sre Ambel, Kampong Cham, and Stoeng Treng were restored in 1985. The major Mekong River navigation routes also were cleared for traffic.
Cambodia has two major ports, Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville, also known as Kampong Som, and five minor ones. Phnom Penh, located at the junction of the Bassac, the Mekong, and the Tonle Sap rivers, is the only river port capable of receiving 8,000-ton ships during the wet season and 5,000-ton ships during the dry season. It remains an important port for international commerce as well as for domestic communications.
Sihanoukville port reopened in late 1979. It had been built in 1960 with French assistance. In 1980 some 180 Soviet dockworkers, having brought with them forklifts and trucks, were reportedly working at Kampong Som as longshoremen or as instructors of unskilled Cambodian port workers. By 1984 approximately 1,500 Cambodian port workers were handling 2,500 tons of cargo per day. According to official statistics, Sihanoukville had handled only 769,500 tons in the four prior years (1979 to 1983), a level that contrasted sharply with the port's peacetime capacity of about 1 million tons of cargo per year.
The country possesses twenty-six airfields, of which only thirteen were usable in the mid-1980s. Eight airfields had permanent-surface runways. Pochentong International Airport near Phnom Penh is the largest airport; it also serves as the main base for the renascent Cambodian Air Force (see Kampuchean, or Khmer, People's Revolutionary Armed Forces, ch. 5). Cambodia opened a new Soviet-built airfield at Ream near Kampong Som in late 1983, which never saw commercial air traffic until now. There are additional secondary airports in Siem Reap and in Battambang.
Air Kampuchea was established in 1982 and flew only one route-- from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. In 1984 commercial air service was inaugurated between Phnom Penh and Hanoi with the arrival at Hanoi International Airport of the Kampuchean Civil Aviation Company's (AKASCHOR) first flight. Since then, there has been regular air service from Phnom Penh to Hanoi, Vientiane, and Moscow.
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 9 (2007)
Heliports: 1 (2007)