By HTUN KHAING | FRONTIER
YANGON — Myanma Railways officials say current passengers services on the Yangon Circle Line will be replaced by modern rolling stock in 2020, as the 46-kilometre track prepares for its biggest overhaul in nearly 60 years.
New diesel-electric multiple unit trains will begin services in three years and will cut travel times on the 39-station loop by a third, officials said in a Tuesday press conference.
Myanma Railways projects that patronage on the daily line will rise from 73,000 to 260,000 after the conclusion of upgrades to the line, funded by an overseas development loan from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
Myanma Railways officials accepted a $250 million loan from JICA in 2016 to fund the purchase of 66 diesel electric trains, which are slated to replace the 152 trains running on the existing route, along with signalling upgrades along the route.
Journey time on the line is set to drop from over three hours to one hour and 50 minutes, at an average speed of 25 kilometres per hour.
Upgrade works along the line are also currently underway to improve speeds and track quality for the new trains, according to Myanma Railways general manager U Tun Aung Thin.
The A1 Group of Companies is upgrading the western half of the line to Da Nyin Gone Station in Insein Township in three stages, with work expected to finish in March 2019.
The Shwe Taung Group will commence upgrades between Da Nyin Gone and Pazundaung stations next year.