The reopening of a 48-kilometre rail line between Poipet and Serey Sophorn in Banteay Meanchey province this month was a milestone in the long-delayed plan to restore passenger and commercial train service along the Northern Line that connects Poipet to the capital. But it is also a huge boost to the local economy, expected to reduce transport costs and facilitate trade, and which is having a palpable impact on real estate prices in the cities it connects.
Sun Chanthol, Minister of Public Works and Transport, said during the launch ceremony for the rehabilitated section of rail line on April 4 that work on the rest of the 336-kilometre Northern Line was nearing completion.
“The Poipet-Serey Sophorn railway service is just the first step of our project to restore the rail line,” he said. “The next steps will be connections to Battambang and Pursat, and then Phnom Penh.”
He said the section between Serey Sophorn and Battambang should start service in May, with an extension to Pursat to open a month later and the final stretch to Phnom Penh completed by the end of the year.
San Sean Ho, governor of Poipet city and a local real estate developer, said he expects the railway to improve livelihoods and accelerate commercial growth.