The Null Device

DIY railways in Cambodia

Cambodians are making the most of their country's dilapidated, partly disused railways by building and running their own trains. The "bamboo trains", comprised of little more than bamboo platforms on wheels, have been running up and down the decaying tracks, helping locals get around.
A tiny electric generator engine provides the power, and the passenger accommodation is a bamboo platform that rests on top of two sets of wheels. A dried-grass mat to sit on counts as a luxury. It would be a white-knuckle ride - if there were actually anything to hold on to.
Low fares add to the appeal, but the service is not without its quirks. There is only one track - so if two trains meet, the one with the lightest load has to be taken off the rails so the other can pass.
The authorities have been discouraging this unorthodox form of transport, though without frequent proper train services (Cambodia's tracks are often in too poor quality to support heavy trains and/or rolling stock is in short supply), there is little they can do to stop it.

I wonder whether the model could be adapted to other countries; what if happened if someone in a rural community in, say, Britain or Australia, campaigning for the reopening of passenger rail lines, took the law into their own hands and run guerilla very-light-rail services over the rusting tracks. They'd probably get shut down by the police in short order, though it could make an amusing story.

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