Six­teen rail routes closed dur­ing 100-day plan

The Myanmar Times - - News - – Trans­la­tion by Kyawt Darly Lin HTOO THANT thanhtoo@mm­times.com

DUR­ING the new gov­ern­ment’s first 100 days in of­fice, 16 short train routes were closed and an­other 14 changed, the di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion, U Tun Lwin Oo, said at a press con­fer­ence in Nay Pyi Taw on Au­gust 16.

“Hav­ing done that, fi­nances are be­ing saved and can be bet­ter used to meet the trans­porta­tion needs of the pub­lic,” he said.

With the clo­sure of 16 routes, the min­istry is los­ing K205,000 in daily rev­enues from 843 pas­sen­gers but sav­ing K900,000 in daily ex­pen­di­tures on 299 gal­lons of petroleum, Myanmar Rail­ways gen­eral man­ager U Aung Win said.

Be­fore the re­cent clo­sures, the gov­ern­ment was spend­ing bil­lions of ky­ats each year to sub­sidise the pub­lic rail lines – a fact that was crit­i­cised dur­ing ev­ery bud­get sea­son.

In Jan­uary, the Mawlamyine-Ye ex­press train was closed. On April 17, the Kaung­sai-Moe Ne pas­sen­ger and freight routes were shut­tered. On June 11, the Phayabaw-Thayet freight train, the Hinthada-Phayabaw freight train, and the Hinthada-Hlaing Thar­yar pas­sen­ger train ceased op­er­a­tions. In July, Wet­let-Kalay and Monywa-Tid­dim ran their last routes. And in Au­gust, the Thazi-Ma­daya pas­sen­ger train ended its ser­vice.

Mean­while, Yan­gon-Pakokku be­came Yan­gon-Ba­gan; Kyaukkyi-Katha turned into Katha-Moetar­gyi; Py­in­mana-Loikaw shifted op­er­a­tion to Aung­ban-Loikaw; and Taung­gyi-Htiyi is now Taung­gyi-Saikkhaung.

Nei­ther the di­rec­tor gen­eral nor the gen­eral man­ager men­tioned how much money Myanmar Rail­ways would save from the route changes.

The Man­dalay-My­itky­ina ex­press also changed its fare struc­ture, and old train cars on the Einme-Pathein and Man­dalay-Monywa lines were re­placed by re­gen­er­a­tive brake (RBE) cars. The min­istry also built the 860-foot-long (260-me­tre-long) My­it­ngedwe Bridge, said U Tun Lwin Oo.

Only one train could cross the old bridge at one time, so if two trains were ap­proach­ing the bridge from op­po­site di­rec­tions one had to wait.

“There could have been ac­ci­dents,” U Tun Lwin Oo said. “Now they can cross safely and in a short time.”

Photo: Aung Htay Hlaing

Pas­sen­gers sit on a train pre­par­ing to de­part Yan­gon.

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