Monday, November 23, 2009

Anorak wearers only

Kampot's main railway station in town
The main open-sided entrance to Kampot's railway station
Okay, so I was a train-spotter when I was a youth, and trains and railway lines still hold a minor attraction for me. Hence on my weekend jaunt to Kampot I couldn't resist pottering along to the main station in Kampot itself and a minor station at Koh Touch, some 16kms west of the town, and about a kilometre from Prek Ampil beach. The railway station at Kampot is a throwback to the 1960's when the southern railway line from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville was created during that decade. The 167kms of single-gauge track from the capital to Kampot was completed in 1967 and the station looks pretty much like it did when it was built. The corrugated tin roof is a bit naff but the brickwork and style of the station is fairly typical of the period and quite low key by comparison to the station at Sihanoukville for example. Today, the only traffic the station sees is the movement of freight, namely cement, and sitting forlornly when I went to the station, were about fifteen brand-new freight wagons. Apart from a couple of boys playing the sandal-throwing game, the station was devoid of any human life, let alone any railway employees. Originally there were 28 railway stations between PP-S'ville, though 24 of them were destroyed during the civil war. And it was on the way to Kampot that three western tourists were captured and later killed by the Khmer Rouge in 1994. For a look at one of those destroyed stations, the shell of Koh Touch, some 16 kms west of Kampot, is worth a look if you are out that way. Some of the walls remain as do the floor tiles, but very little else, as the vegetation has a stranglehold on what's left. A group of female rice-workers in a nearby field looked at me as though I was a complete madman as I took pictures of this empty ghost of the bygone days of the southern line.
Get your tickets here please! These grills have seen better days.
Looking from the station buildings to the nearest line with yellow freight wagons
The railway offices under a corrugated tin roof, in keeping with the station's colour scheme
At Koh Touch, the rural railway station lies in a very ruined state
The line from Koh Touch station back towards Kampot
More of the ghost-like ruins at Koh Touch, near Prek Ampil

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Blogger cat said...

hi, Andy
curiously, your post makes me think of my grandfather who was working as a railway manager in a small railway station, in France, in the sixties... :):)
concernant le Cambodge, j'ai donc compris que le transport des personnes sur le territoire cambodgien se fait actuellement par bus, et que les trains ne transportent plus que des marchandises.

November 24, 2009 at 11:04 PM  
Blogger Jemago said...

Thank you for posting these excellent photos of Kampot's railway station. As an architecture student interested in learning more about Cambodian architecture both past and present, this was a really interesting find!

November 25, 2009 at 9:53 AM  

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