Battambang Bamboo Railway
Battambang, a delightful town in Northwestern Cambodia, has an interesting claim to fame. It has the last remaining active stretch of the Bamboo Train System that used to service Cambodian communities. Only 7 km in length, Battambang’s Bamboo Train provides interested travelers with the opportunity to take a ride back in railroad history as they bounce along the deteriorating tracks across the Cambodian countryside. A ride on the Bamboo Train is a rather out-of -the-ordinary experience. There really is no “train” per se, only a flat motorized platform, known as a “norrie”, made of bamboo slats (hence the name Bamboo Train). Passengers sit on the platform as it is propelled along the narrow gauge rails by an old motorcycle motor mounted on the rear which uses a belt drive system attached to the axle and wheels. There are no seats. There are no walls or windows. And there is no dining car. You can, of course, bring a bottle of water if you like or a snack but the bouncing, somewhat bone-jarring ride may make eating a bit of a challenge. Norries follow a single, uneven narrow gauge track from O Dumbing Station to O Sra Lau Station and then return along the same track. There are no sidings or passing lane tracks. As you might imagine, this arrangement creates an interesting traffic problem when a norrie coming from O Dumbing Station meets another heading back toward O Dumbing Station. Fortunately the norrie has a very simple structure. When a norrie encounters on-coming traffic both norries stop and one is quickly disassembled and set to the side of the track allowing the second to proceed.The disassembled norrie is then placed back on the track and continues on it’s way. Problem solved.
Here’s a brief video sharing the experience of a ride on the Bamboo Railway.
Ride The Bamboo Railway ………………….. And Enjoy The Adventure!
For more history and background on the Bamboo Railway you can check out my related article –
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© 2017, Bruce W Bean, Ph.D. All rights reserved.