Myanmar commercial capital to get $293 million rail upgrade

YANGON – Myanmar has approved the overhaul of a circular rail system in its commercial capital, Yangon, in a step towards modernising a city choked by traffic jams and under pressure from an influx of migrants lured by an expanding economy.

The US$207-million (S$293 million) Japan-funded upgrade to the 48-km (30-mile) system will focus on technological improvements and buying new trains, carriages, engines and coaches, Ba Myint, an official of the Ministry of Rail Transport, told Reuters.

Yangon now has an estimated 6 million people, but as economic reforms start to bear fruit, more cars are clogging its streets and the city’s infrastructure and power grid are being tested as migrants pour in, seeking work and a better living.

The rail system is used by 90,000 people and a full journey, stopping at the 29 stations, takes two hours and 20 minutes to complete.

The upgrade will be completed by 2021 and is being funded by the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

It is the latest among dozens of projects involving Japanese firms seeking to increase their foothold in Myanmar and take advantage of its location, resources, cheap labour and infrastructure needs.

Source: Asia One

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