Yangon-Mandalay, First Rail Line To Be Modernised in Myanmar

Myanmar Rail in 2006. Picture www.farrail.net

Myanmar Ministry of Transport and Communication plans will put a US$2.2 billion Yangon-Mandalay railroad upgrade project out to tender, announced a few weeks ago an official from Myanma Railways at a workshop on reforming and modernising the public transport sector in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.

The upgrade of the Yangon-Mandalay railway line will be put out to tender as of the end of this year, said general manager U Ba Myint of Myanma Railways, adding that the railway upgrade project is set to last for 10 years, until the 2025-2026 fiscal year.

The first phase of the upgrading project will kick off on the Yangon-Taungoo railroad section next year following the tender process, added the general manager.  Myanma Railways said it is working together with the Japan International Cooperation Agency on the rail upgrades. Upon completion, entire journey from Yangon and Mandalay will take only eight hours, said the company.

Currently, a train ride between Yangon and Mandalay lasts 10 hours on average for a distance of 625 km. Most travel agencies offer the alternative of a train ride as it is deemed as a recommended experience with beautiful landscapes over the old British-built colonial railway.  Myanmar Railways stretches over 5,400km with 858 station. Yangon-Mandalay is the busiest rail line as it passes through Myanmar new capital Nay Pyi Taw.