The proposed Trans-Asia Rail Link will be completed by 2015, Malaysian Transport Minister Chan Kong Choy said Monday.
Also known as Singapore-Kunming Rail Link (SKRL), the rail link will start from Singapore and run through countries such as Malaysia, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos before ending at Kunming in China.
"For the missing link between Poipet and Sisophon (Cambodia), the construction of the railway will start early next year, using the rail tracks donated by Malaysia while the ADB (Asian Development Bank) would be financing the construction work," Chan told reporters after officiating the 28th ASEAN Railways CEO's conference here.
Chan said once construction of the missing link is completed, it will enable the movement of trains from Singapore to Phnom Penh (Cambodia).
In addition, Cambodia will also start its rail rehabilitation project on its existing rail system, partially funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), said Chan.
Meanwhile, Royal Railways of Cambodia Director-General Sokhom Pheakavanmony said construction of the rail link between Poipet and Sisophon is expected to be completed by the end of next year or early 2008.
For the 225-kilometer missing link between Phnom Penh and Loc Ninh, a border town between Cambodia and Vietnam, Pheakavanmony said a feasibility study on the missing link, funded and conducted by China, has been completed.
Construction of the missing rail link is expected to start next year with the completion by 2010, Pheakavanmony was quoted by the Bernama news agency as saying.
Vietnam Railways Deputy Director-General Nguyen Dat Tuong said Vietnam and Cambodia are currently working to finalize the connecting rail point near Loc Ninh.
Once the two countries have decided on the exact connecting point, Vietnam will immediately start construction of the 145- kilometer missing link between Loc Ninh and Ho Chi Minh City, said Tuong
Tuong added there was already an existing rail link connecting Ho Chi Minh City to Hanoi and China in the north, through two connecting points.
The three-day conference has attracted nearly 200 delegates and observers, comprising mostly high-ranking railway officials from seven ASEAN countries.
ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
(Source: Xinhua English)
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