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TMCNet:  Myanmar to construct first railroad to link western state

[February 19, 2009]

Myanmar to construct first railroad to link western state

YANGON, Feb 19, 2009 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- Myanmar will construct a first ever 300-mile-(480-kilometer)-long national railroad network to link the western state of Rakhine with western part of Ayeyawaddy division, local weekly journal Yangon Time reported Thursday.

The network connecting 6 townships, outlined as Sittwe- Ponnagyun-Kyauttaw-Mrauk U-Minbya-Ann in Rakhine State, will also connect the railroads from western part of Ayeyawaddy division.

On completion of the project, transport link in the Rakhine region where over 3 million ethnic minorities inhabit will be much improved with better commodity flow especially to neighboring countries such as Bangladesh and India, local residents said.

Rakhine State was accessible by motor roads, waterway and airway but not railway previously.

In 1996, the government constructed Yangon-Sittwe highway connecting Yangon and the Rakhine State. Later the Yangon- KyautPhyu road was again built connecting Yangon and Ayeyawaddy division.

According to official statistics, the length of railroads and rail tracks in Myanmar has extended up to 5,031.29 km and 6,549.26 km, increasing 59 percent and 46 percent respectively in the past 21 years.

There were 3,162.16 km of railroads and 4,470.17 km rail tracks nationwide before 1988 and the state-run Myanmar Railways has built 1,868 km of new railroads and 2,079 km of rail tracks in the whole country since 1988.

The passenger trains has increased to 379 from 229 and freight trains to 18 from 17, the figures indicate.

There are 805 railway stations in the whole country now, an increase of 318 from before 1988 when there were only 487.

According to official statistics, the number of passengers rail- transported in the country in a day stood over 100,000.

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