All Aboard the Bamboo Train, Battambang, Cambodia

The Bamboo train is a testimony to man’s imagination, enterprise and creativity. The French built a single track railway which connected Battambang to Phnom Penh and other places. It ceased to operate during the Khmer Rouge period (1975-1979) and so far there hasn’t been the resource to bring it back into use. So what do you do when the trains stop running but you still want to get from A to B and you still have a railway? Well, you invent a new kind of train using whatever materials you have available, in this case bamboo. The trains consist of a flat platform sitting on two axles designed to run along the rails. They can be used to transport goods but have become a tourist attraction too. Originally they were propelled by poles, like a punt but now they have motors. The ride is hair-raising but great fun! Hard work for the drivers though as every time two trains meet one has to be dismantled and taken off the single track to allow the other to pass and then replaced. The two axles each weigh over 70kilos so it’s a back breaking job for which they don’t get paid much!

The last pic is a video but it seems we have to pay extra to show them!

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