Myanmar officials have held talks with their Japanese counterparts to request loans to improve Yangon’s railway system and to streamline the Yangon-Thilawa rail transportation.
Hideo Watanabe, the chairperson of the Japan Myanmar Association and Myanmar’s Rail Transportation Minister Than Htay and their delegates led the talks.
The talks revolved around installing air-conditioned carriages, replacing old trains with modern ones, shrinking travel times and upgrading railways.
Minister Than Htay presented an urgent request for official development assistance loans and rail bus engine carriages from Japan.
The minister also asked for locomotives and freight and passenger carriages required to revive the Yangon-Thilawa railway, which is a vital transportation route for Thilawa Special Economic Zone and its harbour.
Improved and air-conditioned rail carriages with affordable fees are expected to be installed in Yangon this year. Furthermore, the Yangon Region government has hinted at the prospect of railway flyovers in 2015.
However, an official at the Rail Transportation Ministry said all the aforementioned improvements cannot be realised unless the Japanese government grants the required aid.
Renovation of the Yangon railway system is estimated to cost around US$2 billion.