Railway audit finds poor maintenance of tracks

Toll Royal Railway, the private operator of Cambodia’s train service, has no system in place to regularly inspect the state of its tracks, and lacks qualified inspectors to check either tracks or bridges, according to a recent safety audit of the firm’s Phnom Penh operations. The audit is dated November and notes several areas where operations fall short of common industry practice or are outright non-compliant. … Toll Royal Railway CEO David Kerr declined to discuss the audit Thursday. He said it was a “training audit” conducted by the Transportation Ministry’s railway department, and referred all other questions to Toll’s corporate offices. … The 10-page audit says that “safety is being given a high priority in all activities” at Toll, but goes on to list several areas in which safety standards are non-compliant or short of proper industry practice. It says “bridges and culverts are not being inspected regularly by qualified inspectors,” and that records of such inspections were not available. … Toll holds a 30-year concession to operate the country’s tracks and began service on the first stretch of the southern line from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville in 2010. The longer northern line from Phnom Penh to the Thai border at Poipet City, however, is still under repair after having suffered from decades of war and neglect. An Asian Development Bank-funded project to restore the line has run out of funds. Toll Royal Railway is a partnership between Australia’s Toll Holdings Limited and local conglomerate Royal Group.

Zsombor Peter and Aun Pheap