Rail transport in Myanmar

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The main Myanmar-Yangon train railway station in Rangoon

Burma (known as Myanmar since its independence in 1989) has a 3,991 km (2,480 mi) railway network that is run by Myanmar Railways, a state owned railway company under the Ministry of Railways.[1]


In May 1877, the first train left Rangoon for Prome, a town on the Irrawaddy 163 miles (262 km) away and, particularly after the annexation of Upper Burma in 1886, lines toward the Chinese border were quickly constructed, partly so that the British could get easy access to the resource rich hinterland, and partly in the hopes of building a railway to the Yunnan province of China from the port city of Rangoon (most of South-East Asia was under French control and Rangoon, for a brief period of time, was viewed as a staging point for trade with China). The railway to China never materialized and, by the early 1900s, most of what exists in Burma today had already been constructed.

Railway links to adjacent countries[edit]

  • There are tentative plans to build a 1,920 km (1,190 mi) crossborder railway (with 1,435 mm or 4 ft 8 12 in standard gauge) from Yangôn to Kunming in China.[2]
  • On April 9, 2010, Union Minister of India, Shashi Tharoor, announced that the central government is considering a rail link from Manipur to Vietnam via Myanmar, but requiring a break-of-gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)(Burma)/1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) (India).[3]
  • It is also proposed that these two above proposed links should be connected, allowing trains from Delhi to Kunming via Myanmar, but require break-of-gauge (1,435 mm or 4 ft 8 12 in (Burma)/1,676 mm or 5 ft 6 in (India).[4]
  • In 2010 and 2011, 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge international lines north to China and east to Thailand from a new port and industrial area at Dawei were proposed.[5][6]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]