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wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

YANGON, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- The Kachin Independence Army (KIA) continued to launch mine attack on civilian target, blowing up a truck bound for the border town of Muse from Mandalay over the last two days and injuring one, official media reported Thursday.

The truck loaded with watermelons ran over the mine at a location between Nam Um village and Forest Department Office on Lashio-Muse motorway on Tuesday evening, reported the New Light of Myanmar.

The mine explosion was the 9th of the series of attacks launched by the KIA after the government unilaterally announced ceasefire with the KIA on Jan. 18 to prepare for a political dialogue.

Meanwhile, a recent series of mine blasts on railroads and bridges in Mohnyin and Mogaung in Kachin state and Indaw in Sagaing region have forced change of passenger train schedule for the 480-kilometer route of Mandalay-Myitkyina starting Friday, announced the related railway stations.

The schedule change from running at night time to day time in Kachin state would reduce the risk, it was clarified.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

An elegant cemetery in strife-torn southeast Myanmar has long stood as a lonely testament to the fate of thousands of prisoners of war who died building Japan's "Death Railway".

As the fast-changing nation now opens to the world, a reformist regime is considering rebuilding a stretch of the notorious World War II track to attract tourists and help develop border areas, where memories of the line have been eclipsed by conflict and poverty under decades of junta rule.

Local gardeners pluck weeds and tend flowers between neat lines of graves at the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery in Mon state for some 3,000 Allied troops who died building the line between Myanmar and neighbouring Thailand.

"After seeing this cemetery people do not want to see war. There should not be war in the whole world," gardener Myat Soe told AFP.

"Because the soldiers died the way they did the world remembers them with sorrow. Dying fighting is honourable, but dying like this is very sad."

Many epitaphs at the site, funded by the Britain-based Commonwealth War Graves Commission, are a heart wrenching testament of how bewilderingly distant the country then called Burma was for the families of those killed.

"We were not there to clasp your hand, you passed away without a last good-bye," reads the epitaph for 26-year-old Lance Serjeant Harry Dawes, of the Loyal Regiment, who died in September 1943.

Exhaustion, starvation, disease and torture were the chief causes of fatalities among those impelled by the invading Japanese to gouge a rail route through dense jungle and solid rock between October 1942 and December 1943.

About 13,000 prisoners of war -- many captured in Singapore, the Malay Peninsula and what was then the Dutch East Indies -- died during construction, along with up to 100,000 civilians, mostly forced labour from the region.

-- Built with pickaxes and shovels --

Robert Goodwin, an Australian veteran who worked on the infamous "Hellfire Pass" cutting on the Thai side of the border, said the men's relentless toil involved hacking through rock almost completely by hand.

"Every day that we worked, if anyone seemed to be slowing up they'd be belted with not just hands or pickaxes but with wire whips, with anything they could lay their hands on. The Japanese were cruel by anybody's standards."

On the Thai side, hordes of foreign visitors flock to see the track and bridge made famous by the film "The Bridge Over the River Kwai", and to ride on a stretch of the line still in operation.

The town of Kanchanaburi, a popular destination about three hours drive from the capital Bangkok, generated tourism revenue of over 2.4 billion baht ($84 million) last year, according to Thai officials.

That fact is not lost on Myanmar authorities keen to encourage development in the southeast of their country -- a region emerging from isolation after years of civil war.

Ceasefire deals were reached last year between local ethnic Karen and Mon rebels under a new quasi-civilian government which took power two years ago after decades of harsh military rule ended.

Surveys have now begun to trace the route from Thanbyuzayat to Three Pagodas Pass at the Thai border, according to an official from Myanmar Railways, who asked not to be named.

"This is primarily for tourism. If we can connect the railway track on the Thai side, it will help tourism develop," he said.

Phyoe Wai Yar Zar, of the Myanmar Tourism Board, said there is "huge potential" to develop tourism around the "Death Railway" in Myanmar.

But he said efforts should not only be "focused on the past" and should also showcase the heritage of the local ethnic minority population.

"I believe we shouldn't invent the wheel again. What has been done in another part of the region shouldn't be done again in Myanmar," he said.

-- Neglected and forgotten --

There are, however, doubts about the feasibility of restoring the railway.

Rebuilding the track would make "little economic sense" because a hydropower dam on the Thai side blocks the original route, according to Rod Beattie, a historian who runs Kanchanaburi's Thailand-Burma Railway Centre.

The 420 kilometre (260 mile) line linking the Thai and Myanmar railway systems was aimed at resupplying the Japanese army as it fought British colonial forces and their allies.

It fell into disuse after the war ended in 1945 and much of the track was reclaimed by the jungle.

Myanmar was soon embroiled with its own internal strife as independence in 1948 heralded civil wars in ethnic areas.

In Thanbyuzayat there is little sign of remembrance beyond the gates of the cemetery.

An old locomotive and a last scrap of track on the outskirts of town acts as a memorial, but the rails have been swallowed by weeds and a huddle of statues depicting emaciated prisoners has been vandalised, smashed almost beyond recognition.

The railway has become a legend for local children, a group of whom eagerly led a visiting AFP journalist through the shady corridors of a rubber plantation to proudly display an anonymous mound of earth they were convinced marked the old route.

Gardener Myat Soe is encouraging local youths to understand the history behind the cemetery and said a planned museum would also help raise awareness.

"As long as the world exists, this cemetery will be a symbol of a tragic time," he said.

He recalled a 90-year-old Australian veteran who made the difficult journey to the cemetery two years ago to visit the grave of a friend.

"As soon as he arrived, he put down his bag beside the grave, saluted and burst into tears. It was the saddest thing I had seen in the nine years I have worked here. I cried beside him."

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Thousands of prisoners of war who died building Japan's "Death Railway" are buried in a cemetery in southeast Myanmar.

The Myanmar government is now considering rebuilding a stretch of this notorious World War II railway track to attract tourists and help develop border areas...

...Many epitaphs on gravestones at the cemetery... are a heart wrenching testament of how bewilderingly distant the country then called Burma was for the families of those killed.

"We were not there to clasp your hand, you passed away without a last good-bye," reads the epitaph for 26-year-old Lance Serjeant Harry Dawes, of the Loyal Regiment, who died in September 1943.

Exhaustion, starvation, disease and torture were the chief causes of fatalities among those impelled by the invading Japanese to gouge a rail route through dense jungle and solid rock between October 1942 and December 1943.



Tourists cross a bridge over the river Kwai, in Kanchanaburi province, Thailand, on April 24, 2013 (AFP/File, Pornchai Kittiwongsakul)

About 13,000 prisoners of war -- many captured in Singapore, the Malay Peninsula and what was then the Dutch East Indies -- died during construction, along with up to 100,000 civilians, mostly forced labour from the region.

Robert Goodwin, an Australian veteran who worked on the infamous "Hellfire Pass" cutting on the Thai side of the border, said the men's relentless toil involved hacking through rock almost completely by hand.

Every day that we worked, if anyone seemed to be slowing up they'd be belted with not just hands or pickaxes but with wire whips, with anything they could lay their hands on. The Japanese were cruel by anybody's standards

On the Thai side, hordes of foreign visitors flock to see the track and bridge made famous by the film "The Bridge Over the River Kwai", and to ride on a stretch of the rail line still in operation.

The town of Kanchanaburi, a popular destination about A three hours drive from the capital Bangkok, generated tourism revenue of over 2.4 billion baht ($84 million) last year, according to Thai officials.

That fact is not lost on Myanmar authorities keen to encourage development in the southeast of their country -- a region emerging from isolation after years of civil war.

Ceasefire deals were reached last year between local ethnic Karen and Mon rebels under a new quasi-civilian government which took power two years ago after decades of harsh military rule ended.

Surveys have now begun to trace the route from Thanbyuzayat in Myanmar to Three Pagodas Pass at the Thai border...

If Myanmar can connect the railway track to the Thai side, it will help tourism develop...

...There are, however, doubts about the feasibility of restoring the railway

...a hydropower dam on the Thai side blocks the original route, according to Rod Beattie, a historian who runs Kanchanaburi's Thailand-Burma Railway Centre.

The 420 kilometre (260 mile) line linking the Thai and Myanmar railway systems was aimed at resupplying the Japanese army as it fought British colonial forces and their allies.

It fell into disuse after the war ended in 1945 and much of the track was reclaimed by the jungle.

(Source: Bangkok Post, TOURISM, Myanmar to revive 'Death Railway', 25 Apr 2013, AFP, link)

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Myanmar to revive 'Death Railway'

An elegant cemetery in strife-torn southeast Myanmar has long stood as a lonely testament to the fate of thousands of prisoners of war who died building Japan's "Death Railway".



Visitors look at a tourist train as it crosses a railway bridge over the river Kwai, built during World War II, in Kanchanaburi. About 13,000 prisoners of war -- many captured in Singapore, the Malay Peninsula and what was then the Dutch East Indies -- died during construction of the railway, along with up to 100,000 civilians, mostly forced labour. (AFP Photo)

As the fast-changing nation now opens to the world, a reformist regime is considering rebuilding a stretch of the notorious World War II track to attract tourists and help develop border areas, where memories of the line have been eclipsed by conflict and poverty under decades of junta rule.

Local gardeners pluck weeds and tend flowers between neat lines of graves at the Thanbyuzayat War Cemetery in Mon state for some 3,000 Allied troops who died building the line between Myanmar and neighbouring Thailand.

"After seeing this cemetery people do not want to see war. There should not be war in the whole world," gardener Myat Soe told AFP.

"Because the soldiers died the way they did the world remembers them with sorrow. Dying fighting is honourable, but dying like this is very sad."

Many epitaphs at the site, funded by the Britain-based Commonwealth War Graves Commission, are a heart wrenching testament of how bewilderingly distant the country then called Burma was for the families of those killed.

"We were not there to clasp your hand, you passed away without a last good-bye," reads the epitaph for 26-year-old Lance Serjeant Harry Dawes, of the Loyal Regiment (North Lancashire), who died in September 1943.

Exhaustion, starvation, disease and torture were the chief causes of fatalities among those impelled by the invading Japanese to gouge a rail route through dense jungle and solid rock between October 1942 and December 1943.



Children play at the railway station in Thanbyuzayat, in Myanmar's eastern Mon state. Weeds have swallowed much of the old railway track and a modest cemetery is a lonely testament to the thousands of prisoners of war and Asian workers forced to build the "Death Railway". But Myanmar's plan to reinvigorate the railway aims to transform the area. (AFP Photo)

About 13,000 prisoners of war -- many captured in Singapore, the Malay Peninsula and what was then the Dutch East Indies -- died during construction, along with up to 100,000 civilians, mostly forced labour from the region.

Robert Goodwin, an Australian veteran who worked on the infamous "Hellfire Pass" cutting on the Thai side of the border, said the men's relentless toil involved hacking through rock almost completely by hand.

"Every day that we worked, if anyone seemed to be slowing up they'd be belted with not just hands or pickaxes but with wire whips, with anything they could lay their hands on. The Japanese were cruel by anybody's standards."

On the Thai side, hordes of foreign visitors flock to see the track and bridge made famous by the film "The Bridge Over the River Kwai", and to ride on a stretch of the line still in operation.

The town of Kanchanaburi, a popular destination about three hours drive from the capital Bangkok, generated tourism revenue of over 2.4 billion baht last year, according to Thai officials.

That fact is not lost on Myanmar authorities keen to encourage development in the southeast of their country -- a region emerging from isolation after years of civil war.

Ceasefire deals were reached last year between local ethnic Karen and Mon rebels under a new quasi-civilian government which took power two years ago after decades of harsh military rule ended.

Surveys have now begun to trace the route from Thanbyuzayat to Three Pagodas Pass at the Thai border, according to an official from Myanmar Railways, who asked not to be named.

"This is primarily for tourism. If we can connect the railway track on the Thai side, it will help tourism develop," he said.

Phyoe Wai Yar Zar, of the Myanmar Tourism Board, said there is "huge potential" to develop tourism around the "Death Railway" in Myanmar.

But he said efforts should not only be "focused on the past" and should also showcase the heritage of the local ethnic minority population.

"I believe we shouldn't invent the wheel again. What has been done in another part of the region shouldn't be done again in Myanmar," he said.

There are, however, doubts about the feasibility of restoring the railway.

Rebuilding the track would make "little economic sense" because a hydropower dam on the Thai side blocks the original route, according to Rod Beattie, a historian who runs Kanchanaburi's Thailand-Burma Railway Centre.

The 420 kilometre (260 mile) line linking the Thai and Myanmar railway systems was aimed at resupplying the Japanese army as it fought British colonial forces and their allies.

It fell into disuse after the war ended in 1945 and much of the track was reclaimed by the jungle.

Myanmar was soon embroiled with its own internal strife as independence in 1948 heralded civil wars in ethnic areas.

In Thanbyuzayat there is little sign of remembrance beyond the gates of the cemetery.

An old locomotive and a last scrap of track on the outskirts of town acts as a memorial, but the rails have been swallowed by weeds and a huddle of statues depicting emaciated prisoners has been vandalised, smashed almost beyond recognition.

The railway has become a legend for local children, a group of whom eagerly led a visiting AFP journalist through the shady corridors of a rubber plantation to proudly display an anonymous mound of earth they were convinced marked the old route.

Gardener Myat Soe is encouraging local youths to understand the history behind the cemetery and said a planned museum would also help raise awareness.

"As long as the world exists, this cemetery will be a symbol of a tragic time," he said.

He recalled a 90-year-old Australian veteran who made the difficult journey to the cemetery two years ago to visit the grave of a friend.

"As soon as he arrived, he put down his bag beside the grave, saluted and burst into tears. It was the saddest thing I had seen in the nine years I have worked here. I cried beside him."

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

BANGKOK, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Former Thai prime minister Chavalit Yongchaiyudh has quietly visited Myanmar and met with Vice President Sai Mauk Kham in the country's capital of Naypyidaw, according to the Myanmar President Office.

The informal visit to Myanmar by Thailand's former head of government followed last month's trip to the Southeast Asian country by another Thai leader, namely Thaksin Shinawatra, brother of the current Thai leader Yingluck Shinawatra.

That was the second time that Chavalit paid a visit to Myanmar so far this year.

The dates of Chavalit's arrival and departure to and from the Myanmar capital were not available after he was said to hold a " business talk" with the Myanmar vice president on Tuesday.

The Thai general was known to have fostered close and cordial relationships with Myanmar's former junta leaders, including Than Shwe.

According to the Myanmar President Office's website, Chavalit and Mauk Kham discussed Myanmar's investment climate and business opportunities for any Thai investor who might be interested to do construction and development projects in the neighboring country.

Earlier this year, a group of Thai business people, reportedly led by Chavalit, visited Mon State in southern Myanmar in a fresh bid to reconstruct an airport in the state capital of Moulmein where Thai private-owned airliners could possibly shuttle tourists from Bangkok and elsewhere in Thailand.

Ahead of Chavalit's recent visit to Myanmar, Thaksin had flown in and traveled to Maymyo township near Mandalay to meet with Myanmar's commander in chief Min Aung Hlaing. He attended the so- called Songkran festival which featured the pouring of cool water onto the palm or body of a person as a gesture of respect and admiration during his brief stay in Myanmar.

The globetrotting Thaksin, who has remained in exile since he was deposed in 2006's coup, was known to have quietly traveled to Myanmar for unknown agenda.

Thaksin earlier admitted that he had visited Myanmar late last year only to "clear the way" for an imminent official visit to the neighboring country by his own sister, Lady Prime Minister Yingluck.

The Yingluck government has been apparently supportive to mega- million projects currently implemented in Myanmar's Special Economic Zone located in the country's southernmost town of Dawei, including the construction of a deep-sea port, an industrial estate, power plants with a road and railway to link Dawei with Thailand's western border province of Kanchanaburi.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Last 'Death Railway' Brit dies

The last British prisoner of war to work on the construction of the World War II "Death Railway" between Thailand and Myanmar has died, aged 99.



Reg Twigg, the last British survivor to have worked on the Death Railway, is pictured returning to the Bridge on the River Kwai. His memoir, which he did not live to see published, reveals the story of how he survived the ordeal. (Photo: Andrew Lownie Literary Agency)

Reg Twigg, a former private in the Leicestershire Regiment of the British Army was one of 60,000 Allied POWs and 250,000 Asian labourers forced by the Japanese army to endure horrific living and working conditions during the construction of the railway track between Thailand and Myanmar, then known as Burma.

Twigg, who spent three years constructing the jungle railroad, was waiting for his book Survivor On The River Kwai to be published when he died last week.

The Daily Mail has published extracts from the memoir, which will be published posthumously.

The book details Twigg’s journey from the fall of Singapore in 1942, to “three years of hell” in camps along the River Kwai, building the notorious railway that claimed the lives of 16,000 allied POWs and at least 90,000 Asian civilians.

Twigg explains how he learned to use the jungle to survive – trapping and eating lizards and making snake soup – and documents the brutality of Japanese soldiers.

Twigg was taken prisoner on the morning of Feb 15, 1942 and spent seven months in Changi Prison, Singapore, before being “packed, standing room only, into boiling, stinking cattle trucks… for three days and nights”, then marched through the jungle at riflepoint and onto bamboo boats to riverside camps.

He recounts incidents in which fellow POWs were beaten to death for standing up to Japanese soldiers.  

“The guards watched us constantly. If we weren’t ‘speedo’ enough, they’d slap us around the face: three, four, five times,” Twigg recalls. “Show defiance and the slaps become punches… then the boots go in. You curl up on the ground. The rifle butts slam into your head and if you’re lucky, you’ll pass out. If not, it’s back to work.

“By the end of the first week [in captivity], I’d come to a decision: escape was impossible, but I was going to survive. Darwinists call it the survival of the fittest; I’d call it survival of the most selfish bastards imaginable.”

Twigg explains how he began to focus on the jungle as “a fascinating new friend”, in his bid to endure the ordeal of living and working on the Death Railway.

“The floor was alive. Frogs the size of guinea pigs struck up their interminable noise along the river bank as soon as night fell,” he says.

“Centipedes were six inches long. I never counted the types of snake: some were poisonous, especially the ones with bright colours, and you learned to watch out for them and keep away.

“The brown, sluggish river drew everybody like a magnet. We’d soak in it after a gruelling day’s work. We drank it, boiling it at first when we had the opportunity but afterwards not giving a damn. We bathed in it, peed in it, relaxed in it and cooked our rice with it. We lived alongside it, built bridges across it. And buried our dead along its banks.”

After the war, Twigg returned to Britain and worked as a warehouseman until his retirement. Survivor On The River Kwai is published by Viking.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

BANGKOK, June 7 (Xinhua) -- Thailand will be connected with China via a high-speed railway running through northern Laos within the next seven years, assured Thai Transport Minister Chadchart Sittipunt.

Delivering a key-note speech on Thursday at a seminar and exhibition entitled "Thailand 2020" in the Thai northeastern province of Nakorn Ratchasima, the transport minister said the government has planned to build a 625 km rail system to link Bangkok with the northeastern border province of Nong Khai, across Mekong River from the Lao capital of Vientiane while Chinese high- speed trains will arrive from southern China.

During the initial stage of a 730-billion-U.S.-dollar rail and logistical program, designed for reconstruction of major rail routes in all regions of Thailand, a 250 km Bangkok-Nakorn Ratchasima route will be built first.

Then, the next phase will see a 375 km Nakorn Ratchasima-Nong Khai route built up for the Thai high-speed train to shuttle passengers and cargoes, especially including fruits and vegetables, between Thailand and Laos, which will be connected via the high- speed train with southern China, Chadchart said.

Given such a modernized rail system, Thai food will be delivered fresh and daily to China, according to the transport minister.

"Nakorn Ratchasima is not only the economic hub of the entire northeastern region of Thailand but a gateway to welcome an ASEAN Economic Community, which will open in 2015," he commented.

Thailand will have one rail system for all high-speed trains to run throughout the country, including the Bangkok-Phitsanuloak- Chiang Mai route to the North, the Bangkok-Hua Hin route to the South and the Bangkok-Pattaya-Rayong route to the East and the Bangkok-Nakorn Ratchasima-Nong Khai route to the Northeast.

Besides, the Thai government will build motorways to accommodate prompt logistics and transportation between Bangkok's outlying areas and major provinces, including a Nonthaburi- Kanchanaburi motorway and an Ayudhya-Nakorn Ratchasima motorway.

Kanchanaburi, a western Thai province, will be linked via rail and roads with Dawei, a southeastern Myanmar town, where a deep- sea port and Special Economic Zone project is being built by a Thai construction giant

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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A team of Japanese consultants has completed a feasibility study for the proposed $US 1.7bn reconstruction of the 640km metre-gauge line between Myanmar's largest city Yangon and the northern city of Mandalay.

According to local media reports, the government plans to award the contract to Japanese companies because the study has been funded by the Japanese government, which is also expected to provide loans for the project.

Meanwhile deputy railway minister Mr Thura Thuang Lwin has confirmed that an unnamed Chinese supplier will establish assembly plants for the production of diesel locomotives and rolling stock in Myanmar by the end of 2015. The facilities will require an investment of around $100m, around 90% of which will be funded through loans from China.

Myanmar Railways' current roster includes 281 diesel locomotives, 50 dmu cars, 827 coaches and 2969 wagons, although much of the fleet is life-expired.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

BANGKOK — When Burma's planned Dawei deep-sea port and special economic zone are finished, a highway, railway and pipeline will connect Southeast Asia's largest industrial zone to Thailand’s primary commercial hub.

Although major construction has yet to begin, the planned $8.5 billion project on Burma’s southern coast is already being heralded by the company leading the project, Bangkok-based Italian-Thai Development, as the largest industrial estate in the region.

According to company engineer Suphap Satthatham, the Dawei project would offer everything from a steel mill and oil refinery to automotive assembly and petrochemical facilities.

"The factory will be for the computer part, for the garment, for the cosmetic, for the food processing," he said. "This will be light industry."

While its successful completion could dramatically boost Thai-Burmese trade relations, the project is already encountering financial difficulties and intense local opposition.

Struggling to attract foreign investors such as Japan, Thai and Burmese government authorities have recently taken over fundraising.

Meanwhile, as entire villages are scheduled for demolition, residents say they know little about where they are to be moved to or how they are to be compensated.

"We hear rumors every day that our village is in the project area and we need to move out to another place soon," said Thein Aye, whose children possess newly built homes in areas targeted for development.

While their parcels aren't included on lists of properties eligible for compensation, she says they will refuse to move without offers of adequate compensation.

"Nothing is clear yet," she said.

For motorcycle mechanic Soe Mya, who still does not know where he is expected to move, his livelihood is at risk.

“My current land and house is next to the Main Road — this location is very good for my business," he said. "If I don't get back this kind of a good place in a relocated village, I will not be able do my business there at all."

While Italian-Thai Development officials have taken steps to survey farms for compensation and make villagers more aware of project plans, engineer Satthatham says relocation details are up to government authorities.

"We don't know because this is upon the government plan," he said. "We follow and cooperate well."

Developers have made efforts to spread good will, evening building pagodas for the Buddhist community, but project managers acknowledge there is still much work to do to appease concerns of potential investors and residents alike.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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OSAKA, July 18 (Xinhua) -- A business information seminar on promoting investment in Myanmar, "Southeast Asia's rising star," was held in the western Japanese city of Osaka on Thursday, attracting more than 100 business leaders and officials from the city and its surrounding region of Kansai.

The business event, titled "Myanmar Seminar", was organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in cooperation with the Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) and the Kansai Economic Federation at a conference room in central Osaka to catch the latest social and economic issues in the country and boost foreign investment in the country with a population of 60 million.

Speaking at the event, Hideaki Iwasaki, principal infrastructure specialist for ADB's Extended Mission in Myanmar stressed that although average annual growth rate in real terms of the Gross Domestic Product is estimated at more than 6 percent for the 2012 fiscal year, there is still much room for improvement in the country's economic figure to speed up reforming the industrial structure while reducing poverty among the people.

"Since the people in Myanmar very much depend on agriculture and related activities for their livelihoods compared with neighboring countries, they need to further increase the size of its manufacturing sector to create more jobs," Iwasaki said.

During the meeting, Ronald Antonio Quiza Butiong, unit head at South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation of the ADB, also made a unique statement on subregional development and possible role of Myanmar that regional cooperation in Asia should take place not only between countries but also between subregions to develop their economy and society as a whole.

"Integration is already taking place because the Trade volume between South Asia such as Bangladesh and India, and Southeast Asia such as Thailand has grown over the past 20 years and it has expanded by 22 times as of 2011."

"It is the right time for investors to improve connectivity, for example, highway roads and railways, between the two subregions via Myanmar, which is also next to China that has become their biggest trading partner," he said.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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on July 23, 2013 in Asia and Indonesia The Myanmar ministry of rail transportation has signed a contract with the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation (CMC) in terms of which a plant is to be established in the country for the manufacture of rolling stock including locomotives. A preferential buyers’ credit loan is to be extended by the Chinese government. The Xinhua News Agency quotes CMC president Wang Xusheng saying that the plant will have the capacity to produce 20 locomotives and 120 passenger coaches annually. - See more at: http://www.railwaysafrica.com/blog/2013/07/chinese-rolling-stock-plant-for-myanmar/#sthash.PAGeJUBo.dpuf

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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BANGALORE: Assuring that the rupee's devaluation would have a short-term effect on trade with Thailand, a senior official of the South-east Asian country today said the bilateral trade between the two nations is expected to double to USD 16 billion by 2015.

"In past five years, trade volume between two countries increased by an average of 15 per cent annually, last year it was more than USD 8.6 billion;.....We expect it to double to USD 16 billion by 2015 on increase in trade volume," Thai Trade Center (Mumbai) Executive Director and Consul (Commercial) Adul Chotinisakorn told PTI.

He said: "It is expected that it will continue to grow as free trade agreements between Thailand-India and ASEAN-India, with lower tariffs and trade barriers are fully utilised by private sector in both the countries, which will encourage more trade."

Stating that depreciation of rupee will have impact on trade for short term, he said, "Rupee depreciation is a short term phenomenon, we are not afraid of devaluation but we are afraid of instability, ....I believe in Government of India, they will have to take lot of measures to control this."

"Because of rupee devaluation in short-term, exports from Thailand to India will be a bit down, but from India to Thailand it will be up," he added.

Exports from India to Thailand has increased by 24.07 per cent to USD 1,960.0 million in January to June period, while Exports from Thailand to India has declined by 2.19 per cent to USD 2,610.9 million in the same period.

Pointing out that economy of both the countries is very different, Adul Chotinisakorn said: "Thailand speaks about exports but for India it is about domestic consumption due to large geography and population. Our GDP is dependent mostly on exports."

Explaining the logistical difficulty to do trade with India, he said, "Dawei project on the southern cost of Myanmar that includes the development of the Dawei deep seaport, industrial estate, pipeline along the road-link to Thailand, highways and railroad to Thailand, will be helpful."

Dewai is a city on the southern shoreline of Myanmar located 350 km west of Bangkok, where the project is being developed by Italian-Thai Development Public Company Limited.

Earlier, at a press conference, Chotinisakorn said to foster trade relationship between both the countries Thai Trade Centre is organising a trade fair 'Thailand sourcing and business matching' from 29-31 August 2013 in Bangalore.

"Many Thai companies from a wide range of Thai products including food & beverages, garments & fashion accessories, gifts & decorative items, health & beauty products, household & kitchenware products will be showcased to explore Indian market."

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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YANGON, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar invited open tender for launching a special economic zone (SEZ)development plan in Kyaukphyu, western Rakhine state on Sunday, inviting international consultancy to draw up the plan for initiating the project, state radio and TV reported.

The tender will be accepted starting Sept. 25.

The Kyaukphyu SEZ project is said to be started next April, other sources added.

The project is expected to initially cost over 200 million U.S. dollars.

Kyaukphyu SEZ, situated on Yanbyae Island in southwestern Myanmar, sits on over 50 percent of the land in Kyaukphyu Township and serves as the endpoint for a Yunnan-Rakhine railway.

Kyaukphyu occupies an area of 3,704 square-miles and has a population of 580,000.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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Guwahati, Sept 13: Now some good news for the seven sister states post the Assembly Elections. Among many developments that the state is taking up, railway connectivity is also an important project that got sanction this year.The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has prepared a masterplan to establish railway connectivity between the northeastern states, Bangladesh and Myanmar. According to NFR chief engineer (construction) Harpal Singh, a survey of one of the proposed railway projects connecting Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Myanmar has already begun, reported TOI.He said, according to the plan sanctioned by the Indian Railways, a 252-km railway track would be laid between Jawharnagar, the headquarters of Dhalai district in Tripura, and Darlong city of Myanmar through Kolasib, a town in Mizoram. "Survey of the 109-km railway line between Jawharnagar and Kolashib has started and the rest 148-km track, between Kolasib and Darlong, will be surveyed in the next phase. If all goes well, track-laying would begin in the next few years," said Singh. Railway authorities have also sanctioned funds for a feasibility study of a link between Belonia in Tripura and Chittagong in Bangladesh.Two more short distance routes are being considered. One of them would be a 80-km track connecting Panisagar in Tripura to Simanapur in Mizoram, while another would be a 45-km track connecting Patharkandhi in Assam to Kanmun in Mizoram, Singh added.NFR is all set to issue work order to Ircon International Ltd to lay the railway tracks linking Agartala with Akhaura of Bangladesh, as per the bilateral agreements during the last visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to Dhaka, Singh said. But out of this, how much will be finished in how much time, only time will tell.

Read more at: http://news.oneindia.in/guwahati/new-rail-projects-north-east-connecting-to-bangladesh-myanmar-1305076.html

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

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Agartala, Sep 16 (IANS) Mountainous northeast India would be connected to the railway network of neighbouring Myanmar to link up with the ambitious 81,000 km-long Trans-Asian Railway Network (TARN), an official said.

"To connect with the TARN, a 118-km railway track would be laid between (Manipur capital) Imphal and (border towns) Moreh and Tamu (the latter in western Myanmar)," Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) Chief Engineer (Construction) Harpal Singh told IANS.

"The survey work is now on and it would be completed by March next year," Harpal Singh said.

He said that another 257-km railway route from north Tripura's Jawahar Nagar railway station to northern Mizoram's Kolashib and Myanmar's Darlon has been proposed to connect with TARN.

"If Tripura and Manipur linked with the TARN, the northeastern states would be the gateway to Southeast Asian countries," Harpal Singh explained.

"For the development of northeast India's economy, tourism and people-to- people contacts between the region and Southeast Asian countries, the TARN would play a vital role," he added.

The proposed TARN covers 80,900 km of rail lines, including 22,600 km in South Asia, Iran and Turkey. The southern corridor begins in Kunming in China and Bangkok in Thailand and ends in Kapikule in Bulgaria.

The length of the route between Bangkok and Kapikule is 11,460 km and provides trans-continental connectivity to China, Thailand, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Iran and Turkey.

Harpal Singh said that as per the 'Vision-2020', prepared by the North Eastern Council, the NFR would connect all the state capitals of northeastern states by 2020. Currently, Assam's main city Guwahati and Tripura capital Agartala are linked with the Indian Railways network.

Agartala is one of the newest stations and came on the country's rail map in October 2008.

The NFR is one of the 16 railway zones in India. Headquartered at Maligaon in Guwahati, it is responsible for rail operations in the entire northeast and parts of West Bengal and Bihar.

Harpal Singh also said that work on a new rail link between India and Bangladesh along Tripura would start later this year.

"To ease surface transport between the hilly northeastern states and rest of India and the neighbouring country, thisline would also play a key role," he added.

At a cost of Rs 252 crores, India will build a 15-km track linking Agartala with Bangladesh's southeastern city of Akhaurah, which is also an important railway junction connected to Chittagong port, resource-rich Sylhet and capital Dhaka.

"Necessary survey and alignment of the railway tracks have been completed. Bangladesh would soon engage the agency for laying railway tracks on their side. We expect the work on the line would start this year," the NFR construction chief added.

An agreement for the new railway line was signed between Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina during the latter's visit to India in January 2010.

"The entire cost would jointly born by the ministry of external affairs and the ministry for development of northeastern region. The Indian Railway Construction Company (IRCON) would lay the track on the Indian side," the official added.

A steering committee under Radhika Lokesh, an additional secretary in the external affairs ministry has also been formed to implement the new India-Bangladesh railway project, for which a memorandum of understanding was signed in Dhaka on Feb 16.

"The NFR is now extending the 135 km railway network up to (southern Tripura's border town) Sabroom. With the establishment of the new railway link, northeast India would be connected to the Chittagong port by rail," Harpal Singh noted.

From Sabroom, Chittagong is just 72 km away.

Surface connectivity is an important factor as the landlocked northeastern states are surrounded by Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan and China. The only land route to these states from within India is through Assam and West Bengal. But this route passes through over 70 percent hilly terrain with steep roads and multiple hairpin bends.

India has for long been seeking land, sea and rail access through Bangladesh for ferrying goods and heavy machinery to the northeast from abroad and other parts of the country.

Agartala, for instance, is 1,650 km from Kolkata and 2,637 km from New Delhi via Guwahati and West Bengal, whereas the distance between the Tripura capital and Kolkata through Bangladesh is just about 350 km.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

YANGON, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar has planned to turn its Railways Head Office in Yangon to an international five-star hotel, in efforts to contribute to the development of tourist industry, tourist circle said on Wednesday.

The rare five-star hotel in Yangon, upon completion, will have 154 suites with 450 staff to run the services.

The hotel is projected to accommodate 350 visitors per day.

According to statistics of the Ministry of Hotels and Tourism, there are 859 hotels comprising 31,321 suites in Myanmar, of which 217 hotels are in Yangon with 9,451 suites. Of them, five hotels are rated as five-stars.

In 2012, the number of tourist arrivals in Myanmar reached 1.02 million, an increase of 200,000 compared with 2011's 820,000 due to the significant changes in the country during the year.

Myanmar targets 2 million of tourist arrivals in 2013 and up to 3 million in 2014.

It is assumed possible that many foreign visitors would visit Myanmar to attend the 27th Southeast Asian Games at the end of this year and next year's ASEAN Summit and other related summits.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

18 September 2013
Myanmar


Myanmar has decided to turn its Railways Head Office in Yangon to an international five-star hotel, in efforts to contribute to the development of tourist industry, tourist circle said.

The rare five-star hotel in Yangon, upon completion, will have 154 suites with 450 staff to run the services.

The hotel is projected to accommodate 350 visitors per day.

Myanmar targets 2 million of tourist arrivals in 2013 and up to 3 million in 2014. It is assumed possible that many foreign visitors would visit Myanmar to attend the 27th Southeast Asian Games at the end of this year and next year`s ASEAN Summit and other related summits.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

India suggests rail link with Bangladesh, Burma

19 September 2013
New Delhi



Officials declared Wednesday (September 11th) that Indian Railway (IR) has drawn up a master plan aimed at linking the country's northeast with Bangladesh and Burma, local media reported.

The govt. is placing more emphasis on growing connectivity and business with neighbouring countries, particularly Bangladesh.

Indian High Commissioner to Dhaka Mr. Pankaj Saran said, "Not only is trade between the two countries increasing, but more and more Indian companies are showing keen interest to invest in various segments and joint ventures in Bangladesh.”

Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) chief engineer Mr. Harpal Singh said that a survey of one of the planned railway projects linking Tripura, Mizoram, Manipur, Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh and Burma has already begun.

A 252 kilometer (km) railway track would be laid between Jawharnagar, the headquarters of Dhalai district in Tripura, and Burma's Darlong through Kolasib in Mizoram. Actual track-laying is likely to commence in the next few years.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

A US$20 billion high-speed railway project that plans to connect the coastal town of Kyaukphyu, Rakhine State with Kunming in southern China is still at a proposal stage, according to Myanmar government sources.

There have been growing concerns from activist groups and local residents over the lack of transparency and the failure to release an environmental assessment report on the project.

"We are still at the negotiation stage for the railway project at the moment. As we are still negotiating about it, nothing is definite. China has submitted the proposal but [the project] can only be continued with approval from this side," said an official from the Ministry of Rail Transportation, who requested not to be named.

"We will only accept this if it offers opportunities for the country and everyone–the public, the government, and the parliament–agreed to it," he said.

According to the ministry, China will fully fund the $20 billion railway project, providing easy access to the Indian Ocean trade routes through an 800km high-speed railway network.

China already operates the Shwe oil and natural gas pipelines that start near Kyaukphyu, and run through Mandalay, Lashio, and Muse before entering China at the border city of Ruili in Yunnan province.

Thailand-based activist group Shwe Gas Movement has announced that the railway project is expected to be completed in 2015.

China plans to build and operate the railway and eventually hand it back to Myanmar after 50 years. High-speed trains will carry up to 4,000 tons of goods running at speeds of up to 170 km per hour, according to a report from Arkan Oil Watch.

Arakan Oil Watch have also reported that the Ministry of Rail Transportation signed a memorandum of understanding for the project with China's Railways Engineering Corporation in April 2011.

The proposed railway project is 868.262 kilometres long (539.19 miles) and will pass through Kyaukphyu, Ahn, Mandalay, Lashio and Muse.

The project includes 79 train stations, 409 bridges, and 101 tunnels and will connect with Kunming in southern China.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

BEIJING, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday that Chinese and Indian governments are capable of managing border disputes and he hopes the disputes will not affect overall bilateral relations.

Addressing a press briefing together with visiting Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after their meeting, Li said they both believe the two countries have more common interests than disagreements and the people and governments of the two countries have the ability to manage border disputes.

After the meeting, China and India signed a memorandum of understanding on strengthening cooperation on trans-border rivers, and they agreed to cooperate through an existing mechanism between experts in the two countries.

Li urged the two countries' special representatives on border issues to maintain communication and discuss a fair and reasonable solution acceptable for both sides.

Li also emphasized that the two sides should faithfully implement relevant agreements and jointly safeguard peace and tranquility in border areas.

China and India are among the biggest developing countries and are the most dynamic emerging markets, Li said, adding that China-India ties enjoy great development potential and the bilateral relationship is one of the most important in the 21st century.

Li said that China is willing to work with India to benefit 2.5 billion people and make more efforts for world peace, development and cooperation, adding that the two sides will further increase political trust, promote pragmatic cooperation and strengthen cultural exchanges.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

BEIJING, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- China says the proposed Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar economic corridor could "change the geo-political map in Asia and the world."

The proposal was included in a joint statement issued in Beijing during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Xinhua News Agency reported.

"In move that may change the geo-political map in Asia and the world, China and India decided to move ahead with preparation for the BCIM Economic Corridor that compasses Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar," Xinhua said.

China expressed readiness to step up investment, railway construction and industrial zone development in the region, the agency said.

In an earlier written interview with the Chinese media in connection with his visit, Singh had been quoted as saying that to move BCIM idea forward, India and China need to first get the support of Bangladesh and Myanmar and together study the various practical elements of such a corridor. Myanmar was formerly called Burma.

India's Business Standard said the multi-billion dollar project would link South Asia and East Asia for economic activity, and had figured prominently during talks between Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his visiting Bangladeshi counterpart Dipu Moni last week.

Xinhua quoted Wang as saying China regards Bangladesh as a natural partner and important for China's opening up westward.

China and India will continue to discuss with other parties to establish the BCIM, Xinhua reported. Further discussion on concepts and alignment of the economic corridor are envisaged, it said.

Read more: http://www.upi.com/Business_News/2013/10/24/China-promotes-Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar-economic-corridor/UPI-93141382592000/#ixzz2ieM1uDWF

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

It has been 70 years since the completion of the notorious Siam-Burma Death Railway that claimed countless lives during its construction, and a concerned group is determined that it is not buried in the sands of time.

To mark the occasion, a free public talk is being held this Sunday, October 27, to focus attention on the impact of this dark chapter on the people of this region.

Concurrent with the completion of the Siam-Burma Railway on October 16, 1943 was the proclamation of the Provisional Government of India in Exile (Azad Hind) by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, on October 21 of the same year. This landmark event will also be addressed at the event.

The keynote address for the talk will be delivered by Prof David Boggett, Emeritus Professor at Kyoto Seika University, Japan.

Others on the panel include Dr Azharudin Mohd Dali of the History Department, University of Malaya and A. Rengasamy, an author who has interviewed survivors of the Death Railway and members of the Indian National Army.

The half-day talk will be held from 9.00am to 1.00pm at the Chettiar Hall, Sri Thandayuthapany Temple, Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur.

More information can be obtained from Chandrasekaran at 017-888-7221 or Christopher John at 016-244-0397. - October 25, 2013.

 
awsgc24 Minister for Railways

Location: Sydney



The keynote address for the talk will be delivered by Prof David Boggett, Emeritus Professor at Kyoto Seika University, Japan.

Others on the panel include Dr Azharudin Mohd Dali of the History Department, University of Malaya and A. Rengasamy, an author who has interviewed survivors of the Death Railway and members of the Indian National Army.

- wanderer53



Hopefully any new Thai-Burma railway through Hellfire pass will excavate a new cutting, and leave the original cutting alone, assuming that any new railway generally follows the old.

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

Myanmar Railways is set to buy Chinese materials, technology and services for two train construction projects, as China has pledged to finance them with US$92 million loan at 2 per cent interest rate, according to sources close to the projects.

One project will manufacture railway carriages, and another will build locomotives. Ninety percent of total cost of the two projects will be financed by the loan from Chinese Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank), said the source on anonymity.

Myanmar Railways signed two agreements for the projects with China National Machinery Import & Export Corporation on July 17, 2013.

The railway carriage construction project was valued at US$54.070 million, and China EXIM Bank will loan US$48.663 million, i.e. 90 per cent value of the project, to Myanmar. The rest cost will be borne by Myanmar government.

Likewise, the locomotive construction project was valued at US$47.916 million, and the Chinese bank will help with US$43.124 million loan.

The two Chinese loans combined together will amount to 91.757 million. Their interest rate was agreed at 2 per cent; the administrative fee at 0.25 per cent; and the undertaking fee at 0.25 per cent. Myanmar will have to make repayment of the loan in 20 installments in 15 years.

One of the conditions of the loans is that Myanmar must buy from China the materials, technology and services required for the projects.

Myanmar took these loans as part of the total US$400 million credit the then Chinese Premier agreed with Myanmar’s previous military government in 2010.

The loans, being already in the budget, were not discussed in parliament. Myanmar has recently signed another US$100 million loan with China for its micro-credit projects in rural areas. The Chinese loan’s interest rate was set 4 percent.

Observers criticise that China charges too high interest for its loans to Myanmar. They highlighted the Japanese assistance loans charge only 0.01 per cent interest

 
wanderer53 Sir Nigel Gresley

Location: front left seat EE set now departed

YANGON, Oct. 26 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar Ministry of Rail Transport is striving for providing good service to public, enabling the people to make suggestions and complaints by mail or in person, official media reported Saturday.

Public relations centers are being kept open at small and large railway stations across the country by Myanmar Railways, said the New Light of Myanmar.

As a response to the public voice, Myanmar Railways carried out minor and major repair works along up-and down-railroads in the areas of relevant divisions of Myanmar Railways.

With the aim of widening the horizons of passengers, 18 mini book corners have been opened so far in cooperation with the Information and Public Relations Department.

Moreover railroad maintenance works are underway with added momentum.

 

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