International Tender for Yangon-Pyay Railway upgrade to be held next year

NAYPYIDAW: State-owned Myanma Railway (MR) will hold an international tender for the upgrade of the Yangon-Pyay railway “within the next 8-9 months,” a spokesperson from MR said.

Work is expected to commence in 2020 or 2021 and take three years to complete, the spokesperson said.

Yangon-Pyay railway is one of the five most important railways in Myanmar, providing transport for close to three quarters of total rail passengers. The project is expected to cost US$200 million, which will be funded by the Asia Development Bank and European Investment Bank. Consultants from Austria will be hired for the project.

Last month, work on the first of two phases of the Yangon-Mandalay Railway Improvement Project also commenced.

The first phase of the project covers the Yangon-Taungoo section of the railway route. Max Myanmar Construction Co Ltd and Japan’s Tekken – Rinkai Nissan Construction Co Ltd have formed a joint venture to work on 74km of tracks from Bago to Nyaunglebin under the first phase of the project. The second phase will cover Taungoo to Mandalay.

Expected to be completed over four years, the entire project will be funded by loans totaling ¥45 billion from the Japanese.

The government is also in the process of upgrading the stations along the Yangon Circular railway. Work is expected to be complete in 2030, according to state media. The project is being funded by a US$207.8 million loan from Japan and K54.5 billion from the national budget.

Despite those plans though, Myanmar is currently investing just 1.5 percent of its GDP on developing its railway networks compared to some 6pc of GDP globally, according to state media.