Myanmar govt looking to upgrade Yangon-Myitkyina Rail railway

The Myanmar government wants to upgrade the country’s main railway line from Yangon to Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, almost 1,000 miles north on the Irrawaddy River.

The hoped-for renovation would build on a separate deal to upgrade the rail line from Yangon to Mandalay, and would link from Mandalay to Myitkyina in turn.

“We are discussing with South Korea and the Asian Development Bank about this project,” Myint Myint San, general manager at the Ministry of Rail Transportation, told The Irrawaddy, referring to the Mandalay-Myitkyina section of the line.

Early this month, Japanese media reported that a deal was being arranged between Tokyo and Naypyidaw to upgrade the Yangon-Mandalay rail link, after first being proposed by Japanese parliamentarians during a visit to Naypyidaw in September.

The Rangoon-Mandalay train journey takes about 15 hours at the moment, but officials hope that will be cut to around eight hours after the upgrade, for which survey work will start next year.

Currently the Mandalay-Myitkyina train journey can take up to 24 hours, a 400-mile, stop-start countryside crawl with goods-laden passengers jumping on and off along the way.