August 19, 2016

Japan to grant $207 million loan for Yangon Circular Line upgrade

Travel times will halve when the upgrade is completed in 2021. Photo: Aye Min Soe
Travel times will halve when the upgrade is completed in 2021. Photo: Aye Min Soe

Yangon, 31 Aug—Myanma Railways will soon ink a MoU for a loan of US$207 million from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to upgrade the Yangon circular railway line, according to its Senior General Manager (Inspections) U Ba Myint. Parliament recently approved Myanma Railways’ proposal to use an ODA loan from Japan for the upgrade, which is scheduled to be completed by 2021. U Ba Myint said during a press conference on Monday that the project will begin immediately after the agreement is signed by the two governments.
Myanma Railways will purchase trains manufactured in Japan, which will enable it to offer faster and more regular services, which at the moment is limited to 23 locomotives.
“The upgrade will see journey times cut by half,” said U Ba Myint.
The project also provides for the installation of automotive train stop (ATS) system and upgrading railway tracks.
“Myanma Railways will not raise the prices of train tickets after the upgrade is complete because we know that many low-income commuters rely on train services on a daily basis,” said U Ba Myint.
Around 70,000 people use the circular trains each day, according to Myanma Railways. U Tun Aung Thin of Myanma Railways said that ten train new air-conditioned coaches will arrive in Myanmar from Japan on 5 September. The coaches will service the Yangon circular line as well as the Yangon-Nay Pyi Taw route. The Japanese government will continue to provide support for the development of Myanmar’s transport sector, especially in software infrastructure enlargement, Mr Takashi Owaki, Deputy Minister for Technical Affairs, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said.—GNLM


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