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Immediately after arriving at Sihanoukville, it was time to head back. There was nothing much to do in Sihanoukville anyway, and since the train ride is the main attraction, might as well cover it as much as possible in a single day right? Moreover, I had a long journey ahead to catch my flight.
The SHV-PP-1600 train which was supposed to depart at 4pm did not depart right then due to the late arrival of the previous PP-SHV-0700 train at 3.45pm.
As the crew refuelled the generator set inside the box car, no electricity was available to power the coach, so it would be more comfortable to wait outside on the platform.
The rake at Sihanoukville awaiting departure as soon as the locomotive gets refuelled.
The air-conditioning units are mounted below the train car body. In a way, this allows for cleaner air to enter the coach since the soot from the locomotive wouldn’t reach the bottom of the train that quickly.
Royal Railway operates with BS80A rails, with the concrete sleepers bearing the Ministry of Public Works and Transport (MPWT) initials.
Once done with refuelling, the locomotive heads to the front of the rake.
Coupling the locomotive to the rake.
On the return trip, the crew herded all the passengers to Coach B citing that Coach A is “hot” as the reason. I opted to get into the private room at the front of Coach B for a more comfortable and chilly ride.
Departing from Sihanoukville Railway Station. The SHV-PP-1600 train departed at 4.40pm – 40 minutes delayed from schedule.
The sunset view along Prek Treng Beach.
More sunset views on the way to Kampot.
By the time the train got to Kampot, it was pitch dark almost everywhere.
The brightest area around was probably inside the coach itself.
Nevertheless, the food stalls at Kampot Railway Station continue to remain open for this train.
I got myself some rice and side dishes from the station stall for dinner.
Some passengers from Kampot also continued to load up their motorbikes from Kampot to Phnom Penh.
My dinner for the ride back – white rice with omelette, a piece of pork meat and a pork sausage. This set me back KHR 6,000 or USD 1.50 (~S$2.00) – a value which can’t be obtained in Singapore. Tasted pretty okay, a little more salty than my palette but it seems to be the case for most Cambodian food I’ve tried. At least I had the rice and lots of water which I purchased on the initial trip with me.
After dinner towards Touk Meas, I was once again herded to the common area of Coach B. Oh well, at least I had a little bit of a “chartered train” moment – a vast difference from the fully booked ride to Sihanoukville.
The overall interior of Coach B, which was significantly warmer than the private room. Guess there was some feedback from the passengers for the staff to raise the temperature.
The SHV-PP-1600 train arrived back in Phnom Penh at around 12.30am – around 120 minutes delayed from schedule. This makes a grand total of me spending 17.5 hours on the railway of Cambodia on this single continuous trip, combined with the first PP-SHV-0700 train.
Unloading the motorbikes from the box car.
With the late arrival in Phnom Penh, I decided to head back to the hotel by the free Grab ride available (Promo code: GRABTRAIN).
The very quiet Phnom Penh Railway Station at night. The station is still open for the Airport Shuttle Train which runs 24 hours.
The facade of Phnom Penh Railway Station before hopping into my JustGrab, an air-conditioned car instead of a Tuk Tuk.
Overall, just like my initial ride to Sihanoukville, the SHV-PP-1600 train isn’t the fastest way to get from Sihanoukville to Phnom Penh, but when the train is the main destination for the trip, I guess it doesn’t really matter. The afternoon train also makes for a time-effective way to depart from Sihanoukville after a night’s stay and a morning walkabout, but may get you into Phnom Penh a little too late for comfort.
For a relaxing way to travel across Cambodia and beat the traffic jams, get on the Royal Railway trains.
This article first appeared on railtravelstation.com
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