Phnom Penh Airport: A Rail Link to Town by 2018?

According to a report from the Phnom Penh Post, Royal Railways, the Australian private rail company that holds a 30-year concession to operate the Kingdom’s railway network, is now conducting a feasibility study on establishing a commuter rail service which would run between Phnom Penh main rail station and Pochentong International Airport.

The information was provided to the newspaper by Royal Railways CEO John Guiry. If the project is selected, it would be a low cost easy rail connection to develop as it would follow existing tracks along the main road linking the centre of the capital to universities and the airport.Royal Railways CEO John Guiry talked about a small “tram service”.

“This has been an idea that everybody has been thinking about for awhile by using the existing rail lines to run [from central Phnom Penh] to the airport,” he said, adding that the 10-km long trip would take approximately 15 to 20 minutes. It can take now over 30 minutes due to endemic traffic jam.

Guiry indicated further to the newspaper that the project would only require a small section of new tracks to be added to the existing rail line, and could be implemented in less than two years. A definitive decision would be taken within four to six weeks following the publication of the study. “If the plan comes together” the initiative would “not need foreign partnerships or outside funding”, added Royal Railways CEO.

As for the government, “they would help us get official approval”, he said. “It is a common sense initiative to relieve traffic congestion to the airport.”

In 2015, Phnom Penh International Airport recorded 3.08 million passengers. in 2016, the airport is likely to reach a total passengers’ output of 3.5 million.