$207m upgrade to ‘halve’ Yangon circle line travel times

A US$207 million upgrade for the Yangon circle line funded by Japan will cut travel times by half, a Myanma Railways official has said.

Myanma Railway’s senior general manager (inspections) U Ba Myint said a memorandum of understanding would soon be signed with the Japan International Cooperation Agency for the loan, state-controlled media reported on august 31.

Parliament recently approved a proposal from Myanma Railways for an official development assistance loan for the upgrade, due to be completed by 2012, the Global New Light of Myanmar quoted U Ba Myint as telling a news conference.

U Ba Myint said work on the project would begin as soon as the loan agreement was signed by the two governments.

Ten new air-conditioned coaches due to arrive from Japan on September 5 would provide faster and more regular services on the line, the report said, adding that some of the coaches would also run on the Yangon-Nay Pyi Taw line.

The circle line project also provides for track upgrades and the installation of an automotive train stop system, U Ba Myint said.

Myanma Railways would not raise the cost of ticket prices after the circle line project is completed “because we know that many low-income commuters rely on train services on a daily basis,” he said.

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