Fast and furious ride on a Bamboo Train – Cambodia


Children playing in the puddles beside Bamboo Train (Norry)

Bamboo Train or Norry

An off-side adventure, a ride on a bamboo train locally called a ‘Norry’. An interesting piece of engineering with iron wheels on two sets of axles, independent of a bamboo platform that sits on top of the axles; driven by a small engine, probably from a motorbike or tractor.

The Norry, a small gauge bamboo train used by locals to ride on as transport and to carry goods from one village to the next. People, produce, animals, motor bikes,anything and everything that will fit, carried on the bamboo train; more recently as an adventure for the tourists.

Bamboo-Train-ready-to-go

Bamboo train ready and waiting

Bamboo Train Station

At a small village outside Battambang it had  just started raining as we arrived at the Bamboo Train Station. Luckily an adjacent stall was selling rain ponchos. Our group clambered aboard two bamboo platforms and hung on as the bamboo train gathered speed for a fast and furious ride through the jungle ahead. The norry sped, swaying and bumping along the track. The rain came down, the wind blew, whipping the overhanging branches against us.

Fast and furious, a ride on a Norry or bamboo train,outside Battambang

Fast and furious, a ride on a Norry or bamboo train,outside Battambang

A fast and furious ride

The 30-40 miles an hour attributed to the bamboo train seemed like fifty as it sped along the narrow gauge track through the jungle, with the wind and rain blowing madly in our faces. A fast and furious ride! We arrived at our destination windblown and sopping wet. The destination appeared to be a few stalls selling soft drinks and small handmade souvenirs beside the track. Grateful for a short respite from the rain we enjoyed refreshments under an awning.

What now, another Norry? In the jungle, in the rain-adventure on a bamboo train!

What now,another Norry? In the jungle,in the rain-adventure on a bamboo train!

The Bamboo Train – dis-assemble – re-assemble 

The rain had eased as we clambered back on board the bamboo train for the ride back, but more adventures lay ahead. On the return trip we ran into another norry with two passengers coming towards us? No side tracks or sidings here?

Disassembling the Bamboo Train (Norry)

Disassembling the Bamboo Train (Norry)

Re-assembling the Bamboo Train (Norry)

Re-assembling the Bamboo Train (Norry)

Keep it simple 

Simple, we disembarked and waited while our driver helped the driver of the second norry lift the platform off the axles, then the axles off the track, and placed them both at the side of the track. The platform has a steel frame and fine bamboo slats, able to be shifted by two men fairly easily.

Our friendly Norry driver - Bamboo train outside Battembam

Our friendly Norry driver – Bamboo train outside Battembam

Numbers have priority it seemed. They were only two passengers on their ride, we were fourteen and two carriages on our norry. Our driver drove the bamboo train a few meters ahead, then helped the other driver re-assemble his norry back on the track. Both norrie’s continued on their journey’s in opposite directions, among much laughter and good-natured humor over our little adventure on the bamboo train.


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