Cambodia has launched the first railway service linking Phnom Penh International Airport to the capital.
The service will temporarily be free of charge for passengers until charges are brought in, in August.
“This morning is a historical day for the government under the genius leadership of Prime Minister Hun Sen to install a temporary transport service bringing passengers from the Railway Station in Phnom Penh to our Phnom Penh airport into operation,” said Transport Minister Sun Chanthol at the launch ceremony.
Chanthol added that there will be three new high-speed trains put into operation at the end of the temporary service. The three trains, he explained, will be lighter than the old vehicles and could each carry 56 seated people and about 45 to 50 people standing.
The minister also called on travelers to be cautious on part of Russian Boulevard where the train crosses into the airport.
“For the old trains, travel from downtown Phnom Penh to the airport will take about 22 to 39 minutes, but the new trains will take only about 22 to 25 minutes only,” he added.
The new express shuttle trains will arrive from Mexico within two months and will begin operation in June 2018, according to a statement from Royal Railway, the contracting firm hired to run the service, which is owned by Kith Meng, a powerful tycoon.
The three new diesel and electric powered trains will run from the current central Railway Station along the existing main railway line for 8.4 kilometers then move along street 105K for 1.6 kilometers, a total length of 10 kilometers.
When asked by a reporter about the future fee for using the train service, Chanthol said the company has yet to determine a pricing structure.
Neither Chanthol nor Meng could confirm the cost of the three new trains purchased from Mexico.