The rail link from Phnom Penh International Airport to the city will be ready for service before the start of Khmer New Year in the middle of this month, officials say, as the first tests of the service were conducted on Sunday.

The Royal Railways service connects the airport with the existing rail line. The new link is about 1.6km long.

Construction of the line started in January and is now complete.

Chan Kimleng, director of the railway department at the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, said the station inside the airport was still under construction but the link would be ready for service before Khmer New Year.

The official launch of the airport service would be announced later, Mr Kimleng said.

The government says the service will be free for the first three months and will be used by local and foreign airport passengers.

Royal Railways, owned by conglomerate chief Kith Meng whose company also manages the country’s railway network under a 30-years exclusive concession, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Sun Chanthol, Minister of Public Works and Transportations, said last month that the airport rail link would will help reduce traffic congestion between the city and the airport area.

The rail link will use three carriages which the company imported from Mexico. The train is said be able to carry about 150 passengers at a time with a travelling time of 20 to 25 minutes between the airport and the city.

Mr Kimleng said that as a first step, the firm would probably use its existing train which would be replaced after the ordered carriages arrived.

Beside the airport railway service, another rail service is about to be launched tomorrow connecting Sisophon to Poipet city. Mr Kimleng said this would also be free of charge for the first three months.