Myanmar-Japan sign Bago-Nyaunglaybin railroad upgrade contract

Nay Rai, Zeya Tun

Bago-Nyaunglaybin railway section, a part of upgrading Bago-Nyaunglaybin railroad, will be upgraded using US $ 200 million.

A contract signing ceremony on upgrading of Bago-Nyaunglaybin railroad and installing signals was held at the Nay Pyi Taw station on September 6. The railroad is 166 miles long and repairing of bridges and installing of signals along the road are included in the project. Myanmar Railways and Tekken R.J JV Company signed the contract.

The upgrading of Bago-Nyaunglaybin railway section will be commenced on October.

“In general, the size of the upgrade porject is huge. It will cost nearly US$200 million. In the past, railroads couldn’t sustain the load of heavy tons. Now, we are upgrading to 12.5 tons to 20 tons aiming for the container carriages and to carry heavier loads,” said Ba Myint, manager of Myanmar Railways from the Ministry of Transportation and Communication.

“After completing the project, passengers can travel conveniently without noises or other inconveniences. Besides, the project will be beneficial to our country and people. By signing this, we can say that the project starts today,” continued Ba Myint.

The project will be 4 years long and it will be carried out with loans from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Japanese engineers will mainly be responsible for undertaking of the project.

The railroad upgrade programme is expected to cut travel time between Yangon and Taungoo to 3.5 hours and the overall Yangon-Mandalay one-way journey to eight hours. The Yangon- Taungoo part is scheduled to complete in 2020.

“The project will be carried out by Japanese engineers and Japanese technology. Myanmar engineers will also participate in the project. By doing so, they will gain experiences,” said Kotaro Nishigata from JICA.

The railway connecting Yangon and Mandalay stretches over 380 miles and is a popular route for travelers. Commuters need at least 12 hours to go from one city to another, and the time can go up to 15 hours due to the deterioration in the physical infrastructure.