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Cambodian Train Ride

These photographs are of a train ride from Phnom Phen to Battambang taken in 2007. The photos were shot with a Canon AE-1 film camera. The train is no longer in service though Cambodia has plans to build new rails and purchase new trains.

The distance from Phnom Phen to Battambang is 182 miles and can be driven in four and a half hours. The train took 12 hours. But the ride cost about 12 US dollars, certainly worth the trip.

On the outside people would sit of the roof and socialize as the train lumbered through the countryside.

The train would would stop in small towns and load and unload cargo, mostly lumber. Somehow I never photographed the locomotive.

At other stops it would pick up and drop off people.

People would look for family.

People and cows would run for the train when it pulled into small towns. Because it was only running once a week I assumed people got excited about it.

A small village in the countryside.

People would snack to pass the time.

While men on the roof would play cards. The train moved so slowly wind blowing cards around was not a problem.

The train about to pull out from a small town.Due to neglect and damage from civil war during the latter half of the 20th century, the railways were in a dilapidated state and all services had been suspended by 2009; but there are some proposals to rehabilitate old lines or build new ones. Read more here onWikipedia.

Inside women would would sell lotus flower seeds as snacks.Fresh lotus seeds are sold in the seed heads of the plant and eaten by breaking the individual seeds out of cone shaped head.

And people would wash babies.

The train did not have windows and by the middle of the day it was sweltering. Because the train moved so slow there was no breeze to cool you off. And being on the roof became unbearable

Occasionally you'd see women cooking along the tracks.

Kids out in the countryside watching the train.

Along the way you'd see some really beautiful flowers.

Another stop and more lumber to be loaded.

Along the way I met some nice people. The kid on the left was a student who asked me to take his picture.

And these kids who I gave some pens.

And these kids who wanted me to read everything.

Eventually everyone got off the train.

And I arrived in Battambang Train Station where people played volley ball, cows grazed and kids stared at me.

Here's an Amazing video of the train.