Myanmar’s First Railroad to Get ADB-Assisted Upgrades

By Kaung Myat Min 10 September 2019

PYAY, Bago Region—Myanmar’s Ministry of Transport and Communications plans to upgrade the Yangon-Pyay railroad, thereby reducing its travel time, the ministry said this weekend. 

Improvements will be made with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Union Transport and Communications Minister U Thant Sin Maung said during a visit to Pyay on Saturday to inspect sections of the railroad. 

“The ADB will give us assistance. We are preparing a report on the financial viability [of upgrading the railroad], and we will submit it to the ADB before June next year,” he told reporters. 

After the railroad is upgraded, trains will be able to travel at 120 kilometers per hour, reducing travel time from 8 to 4.5 hours, he said. 

Currently, trains face difficulties traveling at high speeds along the Yangon-Pyay railroad because of an abundance of unofficial level crossings along the route. 

U Thant Sin Maung said the ministry will also have to handle hundreds of squatters who live along the railroad during the upgrade process.  

Launched on May 1, 1877, the 142-year-old Yangon-Pyay line is the first railway line in Myanmar. It took three years to build, much of it done by Indian laborers. 

Parts of the 1,000-year-old city of Sri Ksetra, outside modern Pyay, were demolished to make way for the 161-mile railroad, which serves 29 stations between Yangon to Pyay.

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