Yangon subway map (ရန်ကုန် မြေအောက်ရထား စီမံကိန်း မြေပုံ)

Plans for a Yangon subway system?

Yangon subway map (ရန်ကုန် မြေအောက်ရထား စီမံကိန်း မြေပုံ)

The online community has been abuzz about potential plans for a Yangon subway system, when a map showing different lines connecting Yangon emerged late last last year.

On February 15 this year, Reuters made this report:

“We are now talking with international companies for the construction of both a skytrain and underground train system for the commercial capital Yangon,” the minister, Aung Min, told Reuters in an interview.

“There is no such project planned for Naypyitaw,” he said, referring to the small, newly built capital.

Aung Min said the train systems in Bangkok and Beijing were models for the planned Yangon system.

“The (interested) companies are Singaporean, Japanese and Germany and American … We are now talking with them.” Asked how long it might take to build the system, he said: “We will implement this on a build, operate and transfer policy, so it depends on the terms.”

The Irrawaddy added that Siemens (which built Bangkok’s SkyTrain system) may be among the prospective contractors.

Earlier in February, local media, such as The Voice, reported that a Ministry of Rail Transport said this:

The online map has nothing to do with the Ministry. An outsider drew this plan.
အွန်လိုင်းမြေပုံက ဝန်ကြီးဌာနနဲ့ မသက်ဆိုင်ပါဘူး။ ပြင်ပက တစ်ယောက် ဆွဲတာပါ ” ဟု ၎င်းက ထပ်လောင်း ပြောကြားသည်။

This [map] may just be part of a scheme by businessmen to speculate and manipulate the market prices of Yangon’s real estate nowadays.
မြေပုံသည် ယခုရက်ပိုင်း ရန်ကုန်မြို့တော် အိမ်၊ ခြံ၊ မြေဈေးကို စီမံကိန်းများ မက်လုံးပြ၍ ဆွဲတင်နေသည့် စီးပွားရေး သမားများ၏ လုပ်ကြံ ဈေးကစားမှု ဖြစ်နိုင်ကြောင်း မီးရထား ဝန်ကြီးဌာနမှ တာဝန်ရှိသူ တစ်ဦးက သုံးသပ် ပြောကြားသည်။

The article also notes that plans for a subway system are in special economic zone proposals for Yangon city’s economic plan (perhaps referring to the 30-year Yangon Concept Plan). Minister Aung Min also confirmed these plans at a recent parliamentary hearing. And the quoted ministry official did say this:

“The plan must be done. […] We’ve started to negotiate with the Japanese and Norwegians. But we’re only in the stage of stage of preliminary discussions.”
” စီမံကိန်းက လုပ်ရမယ်၊ […] ဂျပန်တို့၊ နော်ဝေတို့ စသဖြင့် ကမ်းလှမ်းထားတယ်။ ပြောဆို ဆွေးနွေးဆဲ အဆင့်ပဲ ရှိပါတယ်။

Purported plans for Naypyidaw's subway

But, in August of last year, Russian media reported that Russian contractors were in plans to construct a 50 kilometer subway line in Naypyidaw. A month later, the Ministry of Rail Transportation shelved such plans, considering them economically unfeasible and unnecessary for the enormous 7,000 square kilometer city (the size of Delaware, an American state and almost 7× the size of Yangon). And yet building Naypyidaw, at an estimated cost of $4-5 billion USD was a necessary expense.

There’s even a Facebook page ‘Yangon Subway Project‘, with already 1,074 fans. Its about page says this:

Officials of the Railway Transport Ministry have said that there are Yangon Subway plans. This FB page intends to relay news relating to the Burmese railways, news on Yangon’s developments, stories about international subways as well as imaginary plans, as seen fit.

Yangon Subway စီမံကိန်းရှိသည်ဟု မြန်မာ့မီးရထားမှ တာ၀န်ရှိသူများ ပြောကြားထားပါသည်။ ဒီ Fan Page မှာတော့ မြန်မာ့မီးရထားနှင့်ပတ်သက်သော သတင်းများ၊ ရန်ကုန်မြို့ဖွံ့ဖြိုးရေးနှင့်ဆိုင်သော သတင်းများ၊ နိုင်ငံတကာမှ Subway များအကြောင်း၊ Yangon Subway နှင့်ပတ်သက်သော စိတ်ကူးယာဉ်ပုံများ စသည်တို့ကို အလျဉ်းသင့်သလို တင်ပေးသွားပါမည်။

Videos by optimistic fans also posted (the earliest upload I could find was dated to July 2011) on Facebook and Youtube:

Some of the commenters were more or less skeptical. One wrote:

When a blackout happens, people underground will be in trouble.🙂
မီးပျက်သွားမှဖြင့် .. မြေအောက်မှာ. ဒုက္ခရောက်နေဦးမယ် …🙂

It’ll be interesting to see how this development shapes up and who wins the bid to the Build-Operate-Transfer agreement.

One thought on “Plans for a Yangon subway system?

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