Yangon circular rail upgrade will up capacity, cut travel time for round trip by 1 hr: MR

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Commuter train arrives near a rural terminal in Yangon.  Photo: AFP

After the upgrade of the Yangon Circular Railway, Myanma Railways (MR) will be able to accommodate thrice the number of passengers it serves currently, and the travel time for one round trip will also be reduced by one hour, said U Zaw Lwin, the traffic manager for the No.7 division of MR.
“At present, MR is providing transportation services to 80,000 commuters. Once the upgrade is finished, we will be able to serve three times as many passengers. There are 15-minute gaps between trains, and sometimes the gap widens to 45 minutes, causing difficulties to daily commuters. After the upgrade, the gap between trains will narrow to 10-12 minutes. The maximum speed for trains is 40 km per hour, but trains are operating at a speed of 32 km/hr. It is estimated the train speed will increase to 60 km/hr. It takes 2 hours and 50 minutes to complete the whole route at present. The upgrade will cut travel time to 1 hour and 50 minutes,” said U Zaw Lwin.
There are two parts of the Yangon Circular Railway upgrade project and the whole route is 29.5 miles long. The circular rail handles 80,000 commuters daily. The gap between trains is 15 to 45 minutes at present. It takes 2 hours and 50 minutes to complete one round trip, according to data from the No.7 division of MR.
In the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year, the Yangon Circular Railway’s on-time performance was recorded at 91 per cent. The rail’s performance has been declining over the past 20 years. After the upgrade, MR will ensure a 100 per cent on-time running performance.
“Yangon circular trains’ on-time performance did not meet expectations. MR is aiming to provide 100 per cent on-time service on the entire Yangon circular rail network,” said U Kyaw Kyaw Myo, the General Manager of MR (Transport division). The Yangon circular railway is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2019, said U Tun Aung Thin, the General Manager of Myanma Railways (Lower Myanmar).
The upgrade project has been divided into two parts. The Shwetaung Company will conduct the upgrade on the eastern part of the Yangon railway, while the A1 Company will work on the western part.
At present, the rail is running 20 additional round trips for the convenience of commuters, said U Zaw Lwin.
The upgrade project commenced on 21 December, 2018. Prior to that, the Yangon circular rail network operated 153 trips. For the duration of the project, the rail added 20 more round trips on the Yangon-Kyimyindine, Yangon-Insein, Insein-Hlawga, Yangon-Payutseikgon, Kyaikkalae-Insein rail routes. Additionally, the Yangon suburban rail service operating on Yangon-Toekyaungkalay, Yangon-Ywathagyi, Yangon-Oakphosu, Yangon-Thilawa, Yangon-East Yangon University, and Yangon-Dagon University routes is running regularly, making 68 round trips.


By Nyein Nyein(Translated by Ei Myat Mon)

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