Saturday, October 18, 2008

Could Be Worse

Regular reader and commenter Stephen sent in this story about the last train in Cambodia. It goes about 17km/h (10mph) and transports goods and people. It goes slow enough that riding on the roof doesn't seem that dangerous, even though it still is.


Matt Fisher said...

Oh shit. This is like when trains stopped running 20 years ago in Newfoundland. My dad rode the train to Edmonton and back in 1970, with a ferry connection from Newfoundland beautiful Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia to continue onto the mainland.

Similarly, it's painful that they stopped running passenger trains in Mexico, although they have established electric commuter rail in Mexico City recently. Anyone know when passenger trains last ran there? Anyone?

And 17 km/h for a typical rail line is too slow, it just pales in comparison to a streetcar in mixed traffic. I'd prefer not to ride on the roof, or on the bomb. (A little joke, referring to Dr. Strangelove.)

Anonymous said...

That train would be a model for what John McCain desires for Amtrak.

Alon Levy said...

It's not just rail service that is bad in Cambodia. My father ran a small NGO there a few years ago, in Siem Reap, the city nearest to the tourist attractions. He had to pay bribes just to get electricity for his building. When I was just outside the city, there were wooden shacks by the road with naked children running around them. The dominant form of wheeled transportation was the Toyota Camry (or the rickshaw) - people who can't afford that can't even afford motorcycles or bicycles.

Anonymous said...

Hey at least people there are able to use the tracks with their bamboo speeders.

It's a strange kind of open access and it's way better than the let's trash the planet "rails to trails" junk.

Also Matt, what Brian Mulruiny did to the NFLD Rwy., the PEI Rwy., along with the Via Rail cuts of 1990 was sick. Canadians ought to do to Brian Mulruiny what Italians did to Benito Mussolini.

Matt Fisher said...

Yes, I know already, particularly after we re-elected P.M. Stephen Harper with a minority, our third consecutive minority government. Thank you for noting that again, anonymous. My dad did also go on the train through another place where it was cut - Fredericton, New Brunswick (the province's capital).

And paying bribes in Cambodia just to work? Outrageous! I wouldn't want to do that!

Jon said...

you know theres no rail safety rules in cambodia so it probably means 5 mph is a safe speed for those tracks.

by several of the posts here it sounds like via is at risk of cuts, is this likely? and if so what routes might be at risk?

Alon Levy said...

Not just to work, Matt. If I remember correctly he also needed to bribe people for visas for his employees, and for licensing.

I have no idea if that rail line is in danger of cuts. The NGO was only in Siem Reap, which doesn't get any rail service. I'd guess the line isn't in danger, because Cambodia has fast economic growth lately.