The state-run Myanmar Railways has begun a project of upgrading the Yangon circular railway with the first section being the Western Yangon commuter rail network, the official Global New Light of Myanmar reported last week.
The Western Yangon commuter network runs from Insein to Tanyingone station and the 6-km sectional project, which started on Wednesday, is expected to be completed by the end of May.
The second part of the project, which will see the renovation of a further 8.8-km railway between Insein and Kyeemyindaing stations, will start on October 1 and is expected to be finished by the end of January 2019.
The third part of the project, which will see the upgrade of a further 4.4-km of rail tracks between Kyeemyindaing and Yangon stations, will commence on Feb. 1, 2019. According to plans, the last part of the project should be completed in March of the same year.
The upgrading project, to be carried out under the management of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, will be funded with 206 million U.S. dollars from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as an overseas development assistance loan and 94.76 million U.S. dollars from the national fund.
The project aims to increase the numbers of passengers and reduce running and waiting hours.
The running hours of the full circuit of the circular train will be reduced by an hour after the upgrading while it currently takes about three hours.
Out of 2.5 million passengers using public transportation, about 90,000 people use railway transport in Yangon region daily. The rail network was built by the British Authority during colonial times and modernized last back to 1954. The 45.9 km long Yangon Circular Railway is operated by Myanmar Railways and comprises a total of 39 stations, connecting satellite towns and suburban areas to the city centre. The Railway is heavily utilized by lower-income commuters, as it still remains today the cheapest method of transportation in Yangon.