Entrepreneurial railway hackers in Cambodia have built “bamboo trains” powered by electric motors that ply the abandoned rails of the nation’s decrepit rail system. With only one scheduled train per week, these jerry-rigged trains are an easy way to move people and cargo around the Cambodian countryside.
A tiny electric generator engine provides the power, and the passenger accommodation is a bamboo platform that rests on top of two sets of wheels. A dried-grass mat to sit on counts as a luxury.
It would be a white-knuckle ride – if there were actually anything to hold on to.
The bamboo trains reach about 40km/h (25mph), with the track just a couple of inches below the passengers. Warped and broken rails make for a bone-shaking journey…
Low fares add to the appeal, but the service is not without its quirks. There is only one track – so if two trains meet, the one with the lightest load has to be taken off the rails so the other can pass.