Friday, 30 May 2014

Japan is looking at fixing Myanmar railways from 2016

YANGON - Standing proudly in the city centre of Yangon, the magnificent art deco building of Yangon Central rail station seems to defy time. The building looks well maintained despite receiving flows of commuter and intra-regional travellers. While many of Myanmar’s historical rail stations were recently renovated with a fresh coat of painting, the country’s railways stand in reality in a sorrow state. The dilapidated rail system has barely seen a single kyat of investment since WWII, after the British left the country.

Myanmar has a railway network length of 4,000km of tracks, with 926 stations and a fleet of 436 locomotives. The state-run system’s 412 trains lug 1,281 passenger coaches and 3,204 wagons. However, most are in need of an urgent modernization. Two countries have so far looked at helping Myanmar’s crumbling rail network: India is looking at establishing a rail link which could link Assam with Kalay in Myanmar. Some 155 million US dollars has been assigned by the precedent Indian government for rail development. A feasibility study is now underway to assess the technical and commercial elements of such a project.

Japan completed also last year a feasibility study to look at modernizing the country main rail line, running from Yangon to Mandalay. The rehabilitation of the 640 km long line would request an investment estimated at US$ 1.7 billion. The contract has been given to Japan who funded the study and provided a loan for the development of the rail link. According to local information, modernization of the network will start in 2016 with a possible completion after 2020. The new rail system will then be part of the future planned Trans-Asian Railway link aims to connect the railway systems of 28 countries in Asia, and Europe.

According to a report by consulting firm McKinsey and Co., Myanmar needs $650 billion of investment by 2030 to support economic growth. Of this, half of it –or the equivalent of $320 billion- will be requested to turn the country to ASEAN standards.

source: Travel Daily News
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