Every metro railway in Southeast Asia

Sihanoukville's unfinished buildings problem, Thailand's aviation city and the high-speed rail that will serve it, and more talk about the Can Tho Railway.

Greetings from Quy Nhon on the South Central Coast of Vietnam. It’s unusually cool and cloudy here, which is something I have noticed in my friends in the region remarking about due to a polar vortex. It was 22c here which felt cold to me, as it does for Singaporeans.

The South Central Coast region of Vietnam is extremely seasonal compared to the south, which stops it from being a year-round holiday destination. Quy Nhon has some big projects going on, but it is not an ideal tropical beach destination when the sea looks like mud in January. I will have a trip report next week for subscribers about what is happening in this interesting city.

This week’s feature article is a table of every transit system in Southeast Asia.

Latest posts at Future Southeast Asia

Dispatches from Southeast Asia (for paid subscribers)

Phnom Penh metro, fixing Manila's decades of neglect, Bangkok-centric development continues in Thailand, maybe the HCMC Metro in 2023, and my pick for best transit proposal of the year.


🇰🇭 Cambodia

“Cambodia is slated to get a second high-speed railway connecting Phnom Penh with Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam after French investment was given the green light.”

Khmer Times continues to run this story, and I am going to keep saying that a 160km/h railway is not high-speed (technically it is semi-high-speed). “High-speed” is mentioned 6 times in this 226-word article.

This is related to the abanded buildings that litter the skyline of Sihanoukville (here is my report from 2022).

🇮🇩 Indonesia

“Dr Chris Hale argues that the focus on moving the Indonesian capital, amongst other problems, is causing the city to fall back behind its competitors.”

🇱🇦 Laos

“The Thai delegation and their Lao counterparts visited the site of Vientiane Khamsavath Station, part of a 7.5-kilometer extension of the cross-border Laos-Thailand Railway connecting Thailand’s Nong Khai with Thanaleng Station in Vientiane Capital.”

🇲🇾 Malaysia

“Former prime ministers, Dr Mahathir Mohamad and Muhyiddin Yassin, have been named as defendants in a lawsuit over the cancellation of the Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project.”

• In Penang South Islands news, fishermen tell Penang government they will never accept the controversial PSI project, while the government says PSI project will not destroy livelihoods of fishermen.

🇵🇭 Philippines

[Updated: Panay Railway]

🇸🇬 Singapore

Here is the full list of the corruption perceptions index.

🇹🇭 Thailand

”A company at the centre of an encroachment row has agreed to remove a fence blocking access to a school on Koh Lipe by Feb 7, marking headway in settling several such disputes on the popular island.”

🇻🇳 Vietnam

For all the talk in Cambodia last month about the (semi) high-speed railway to the Vietnam border, there has been no mention about it from the Vietnam government.

The government is still talking about other railways though. This article mentions that “the preparations would start with the section between Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho City in the Mekong Delta”. This is another vaguely optimistic announcement that doesn’t really say anything. It’s been added to the pile of announcements on the Mekong Delta railway page.

The same article mentions the North-South Express Railway to be completed before 2030, starting with the construction of two segments: Hanoi-Vinh and Ho Chi Minh City-Nha Trang.

In the same week, the government announced it is spending US$46.7 million on renovating the HCMC-Nha Trang section of the railway, which will be finished by 2025. Hopefully this is a bare minimum expenditure to keep the track running until the mythical high-speed rail is built and put into service.

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