Tuesday, April 29, 2008

All aboard the Norry

Preparing to depart at O Sralau
Train travel in Cambodia is slow and incredibly uncomfortable. I'm pretty sure that passenger services have been officially postponed though they still happen but they're 'not official'. Instead, in various spots around the country where you find a railway line, you can find a 'norry' or bamboo train, which as you can see from these photos are a wooden platform on metal wheels that are powered by a small electric motor. Our party of 28 climbed aboard five norries for our bamboo train experience just outside of Battambang. The locals use them for transporting themselves and their goods to market, the tourists use them for a slice of local life and for fun. We were the latter. We drove out to O Sralau to catch our norries and an hour later after six kilometres of bumpy track we got off again at O Dambong. Thankfully the cushions provided absorbed some of the bumps but we also had to dismount and disassemble the norries halfway through the ride to await the 7am train from Battambang to Phnom Penh to pass, agonisingly slowly, before we could continue. I'd been on a norry a few times before but for my Khmer work colleagues it was a new and exciting experience and they loved it.
Yours truly and a less than excited Thoeun in the red & white hoops
The norry is disassembled before the 7am from Battambang arrives
Here is the 7am Battambang to Phnom Penh 'special' consisting of 3 goods wagons
The Phnom Penh 'special' also contained two passenger carriages that were in pretty poor shape
Having fun on the norry Khmer-style
The 'norry station' at O Dambong is also a timber yard

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