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Train maker to operate in Cambodia

By Zhong Nan | Updated: 2017-09-27 07:57

China Sky Railway Group, a privately owned company producing trains that hang and zip along a monorail track at a speed of up to 65 kilometers per hour, will operate on a 10-km line in Cambodia next May, said its chairman on Tuesday.

The line is designed to connect the Royal Palace and Phnom Penh International Airport in Phnom Penh to support its infrastructure, tourism and public service development, as well as the upcoming 2023 Southeast Asia Games. An unmanned train can carry a maximum of 144 passengers.

Unlike monorail trains in Germany and Japan powered by cable, the train made by the company is powered by a lithium battery.

"It is cheaper than building a subway or urban railway in major cities in member economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as much land is in private ownership and the government must pay handsomely to gain the right to use it," said Tang Tong, the company's chairman.

The Sichuan-based company on Tuesday signed a framework agreement with Beijing-based Third Cities Investment Group Co for financial support to further develop in the overseas and domestic markets.

Tang said his company is currently building four lines in Chengdu, Shenzhen and Guiyang, which are expected to be completed in the second half of 2018.

Tang said these lines do not need government subsidies and a sample train has already been demonstrated many times to transportation officials from Southeast Asian and African countries, as well as domestic clients from the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and Anhui province.

The company has completed 15,000 km of test runs to acquire the highest standards in unmanned driving technology.

Based on the average market price, it costs between 800 million yuan ($120 million) and 1 billion yuan to build 1 km of underground metro line. However, it only costs 100 million yuan to build 1 km of infrastructure facilities for such trains to hang and operate, said Luo Renjian, a researcher at the Institute of Transportation Research under the National Development and Reform Commission.

Eager to compete with their Japanese rivals, China's train makers have been "keen to further develop smart trains, which use advanced digitalization and automation technologies that enable automatic speed controls and fault detection, as well as save public spaces and client costs", Luo said.

Last month, a consortium led by the China Railway Rolling Stock Corp signed a $400 million contract to provide the Malaysia National Infrastructure Corporation with 42 high-tech unmanned trains.

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