Posts Tagged: transit innovation



Transit Innovativeness: Bamboo Railway

The Bamboo Railway or “Norry” in Battambang, Cambodia is truly a testament to human ingenuity and creativity. In this part of the world, where resources are scarce and government run train service is untimely and unreliable, this informal form of transit is an inexpensive and convenient mobility option for many.

For this simple (yet highly effective) design, here’s what you’ll need to start your own operation:

  • a set of old unmaintained and underutilized colonial railway tracks in Cambodia
  • a bamboo flatbed
  • self welded steel wheels
  • a small go-kart/water-pump engine
  • a simple wooden foot brake

That’s it!

Probably the most unusual and imaginative form of transport that I've ever come across. Image by Flickr User Paul Carson / Embikei Images

For the past decades, residents have used this service day in and day out with vehicle speeds reaching up to 50km/h (almost 4x the speed of Toronto’s streetcar!). However, like most things, it appears that this antiquated but highly reliable and efficient system is coming to an end. Old tracks are to be replaced in the upcoming years as part of an overall revitalization project. Hopefully, some remnants of the bamboo railway will remain – it’d be a shame to lose something so unique and special.

If you want to see more, check out this Youtube video.

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