China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group and Myanma Railways have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to carry out a feasibility study of the 431km Muse-Mandalay railway line.
Muse is a border town in Myanmar, and Mandalay is the country’s second biggest city in the north. The connecting line will operate at a speed of 160km per hour.
The feasibility study will evaluate the environmental and social impact of the Muse-Mandalay line. It is expected to be completed over a period of two years.
Myanmar Transport and Communication Minister U Thant Zin Maung was quoted by xinhuanet.com as saying that the planned study is set to lower transportation cost, as well as boost the socio-economic development while still keeping in line with environmental conservation.
He further noted that the Muse-Mandalay line will form part of the China-Myanmar Economic Corridor, an initiative that was formally announced by China in November last year.
The railway is expected to bolster China’s Belt and Road initiative while helping to develop Myanmar’s economic condition, as well encourage stability in the northern part of the country.
In July, mmtimes.com reported that the China-Myanmar high-speed railway project that was halted by Myanmar’s previous government had been resumed. In April 2011, a MoU was signed for the project, but it was put on hold in July 2014.