RIP: Battambang's Bamboo Train
Locally known as ‘Norrie’, the bamboo train emerged after the Cambodian Khmer Rouge disaster in the early 80s as an excellent alternative form of transport around Battambang as train traffic was virtually non-existent and road traffic had similarly disintegrated.
Basically a bamboo platform on train carriage wheels it turned out to be perfect for transporting cattle, livestock, people and more. At first it was man-powered using poles but later small engines were used instead.
It was bound to happen that backpackers (and later tourists) would like to take a ride, so in 2005 I went to Battambang on an inspection trip for Khiri Travel and tried it out for myself, an amazing experience.
My photographer friend Ray posted recently a nice description of my second trip with him and our friends we made a few years later: https://mainlythai.shutterchance.com/image/2019/05/06/bamboo-train-01/
However during the last few years there has been considerable amount of renovation of the railway tracks going on in order to reopen the old Bangkok - Aranyaprathet - Poipet - Battambang - Phnom Penh route. This was the end of the Norries…, until this year a new version was made available to the public which unfortunately is just a pale reflection of the original with new tracks on fresh cement and sleepers, as well as cushions provided for the tourists…