I love railroads, trains, and overland border crossings via this mode of transport. The thought of sitting in a train compartment for hours or days, staring outside as the scenery slowly dissolves with the trains' slow sideward movements, makes my heart skip a beat. For me, few things will ever match the experience of trans-continental train travel.
And so it is ironic that I spend so much of my time on a project that would potentially halt the development of an inter-Southeast Asian railroad system, a system of linked rails that could one day transport me from Singapore to Scotland.
But this idea of economic development can-- must --be done responsibly, yes? It's very difficult for me to meet the oft-silenced communities living on the rails, in their makeshift tin or wooden homes, in absolute squalor (or, equally, to meet those already relocated to sites, who relay stories of their children scavenging for food and water) and then turn around and accept that the answer to my question may be "no."
It makes me very tired. Today, I am very tired.
An article about the ADB-funded Railway Rehab Project of Cambodia: here.