Upgrade to Yangon circular railway stations nearing completion

Photo shows a railway station in Yangon. Photo : Phoe Khwar

By Swe Oo Wai

The neat and tidy circular railway station can be spotted when turning to the railway station crossing the motor road. Newly-upgraded circular railway station seems to attract the attention of Ko Lu Maung. He has taken neither YBS buses nor trains lately because of the outbreak of COVID-19 and the office car has picked him up when going to office. He failed to notice some upgrades to the circular railway station where he frequently arrived. He has already known that upgrades to Yangon circular railway stations will be completed during upcoming December of this year.
The Yangonites rely mainly on YBS buses and circular trains when they travel every day for the purpose of employment or business. The government is striving for better public transport by providing better YBS and circular train service despite having bottlenecks in its transport sector.
Now the MR in cooperation with the JICA is upgrading Yangon circular railway stations, hoping that it will be completed during coming December. Until June in 2020, a total of 25 circular railway stations have been upgraded. There is a plan to upgrade 37 stations in Yangon except Yangon Railway Station. A total of 25 circular railway stations have been upgraded so far. If Yangon Railway Station is included in the list of circular railway station, it will be 38.
“Now 12 circular railway stations have been still left for upgrading in Yangon. The upgrade to the circular railway stations is hoped to be completed in December,” said Kyaw Myo Lwin, assistant manager of Traffic of No 7 Division.
Not only the circular railway stations but also the station platforms and pavements should be upgraded so that the passengers will safely get on the circular trains. Ko Lu Maung has seen the upgraded platforms when he arrives at the circular railway stations. The platforms look neat and tidy and they are also raised higher than the previous level.

The platform at the Mahlwagone station is begun upgrading. (6459) Photo : Phoe Khwar

A total of 37 circular railway stations
Stations, platforms, circular railway lines, over-bridge, level crossing, and signals are all being upgraded at the same time. Only if success efforts are made, will work procedures be successful. 17 out of the 37 circular railway stations are located in the outskirts. It is important that get-on and get-off from the trains at the stations should be safe enough for the passengers.
Yangon circular railway trip is 29.5 miles long, but the railroad is 59 miles in length. There are 38 circular railway stations including Yangon Railway Station along Yangon circular railway journey. Before COVID-19 outbreak, there were 15 coaches and 10 RBE ones totaling 25 ones and 221 runs. The circular runs started from 5 am to 11 pm. During COVID-19 crisis, there were only 12 schedules in April and 52 in June. There are about 73,000 circular train passengers but now the number is in decline. The number of passengers is gradually increasing day by day.
The government employees like Ko Lu Maung and the grassroots have to rely mainly on YBS buses and Yangon circular trains in Yangon. It is happy to see the upgrade to the circular railway stations.

Automatic signal system
Apart from the upgrade to the circular railway stations, 25 level crossings are under renovation and now only five have been left for repair till June in 2020. At the level crossing places, there are changes in booms and automatic signals.
Moreover, there is also a plan to build 35 over-bridges along Yangon circular railway line in Yangon, 10 of which have been finished. The remaining over-bridges are under construction. In doing so, the people crossing the railway lines will be in safety.
In addition to new over-bridges, there is also a plan to build barriers on both sides of the 59-mile-long Yangon circular railway line.
Once circular railway facility has been already upgraded, the speed of the circular train will on the increase. Barriers should be built to prevent the people from crossing the railway lines from different places and from running across the untoward incidents.
While Ko Lu Maung was thinking about the idea mentioned above, he was seeing the railway passengers getting on and off the trains safely when a circular train arrived at the station. Once all circular railway stations have been upgraded, the railway passengers are going to enjoy a better circular service. (Translated by Htut Htut (Twantay))

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