Sep 16, 2014

Understanding the Problems of Southeast Asia's Railways

Southeast Asians are increasingly unhappy about their national railways and proposed high speed rail networks.

An article in The Diplomat, details the problems surrounding rail systems in Southeast Asia.

For example:
In Philippines:
Frustrated by the frequent disruption in train service, Metro Manila residents have dared public officials to ride the dilapidated trains and suffer what the general public experience everyday. The transportation secretary responded to the challenge but many were not amused that he rode the train on a slow hour in the afternoon and went straight to the coach reserved for women and the elderly.
In Singapore:
They [Singaporeans] also wondered if the additional cost of these experiments – which will last for three months – will be shouldered by the public. The debate continues: Is it better for Singapore to nationalize its train service or should the government allot subsidies for its operations like the generous aid it is giving to other public utilities?
In Laos and Thailand:
Speaking of state investments, Laos and Thailand have approved the construction of high-speed rail lines that will connect their borders to southern China. Admittedly vital to their domestic economies, these infrastructure projects are financially risky. In the case of Laos, there are serious doubts about the ability of the state to absorb the loans it will incur in building the railway.


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