The length of railroads and rail tracks in Myanmar has extended up to 5,031.29 km and 6,549.26 km now, increasing 59 percent and 46 percent respectively in the past 20 years, according to Saturday’s official newspaper The New Light of Myanmar.

There were 3,162.16 km of railroads and 4,470.17 km rail tracks nationwide before 1988 and the Myanma Railways (MR) has built 1, 868 km of new railroads and 2,079 km of rail tracks in the whole country since 1988, the perspectives carried on the paper said.

The passenger trains has increased to 379 from 229 and freight trains 18 from 17, it said, adding that there are 805 railway stations in the whole country now, increased 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 increased from 70,000 in the fiscal year 2004-05 to 100,000 in 2005-06.

Meanwhile, Myanmar launched its first domestically-produced 1, 200-horse power diesel-engine locomotive in April, putting it into run from the former capital of Yangon to the second largest city of Mandalay in a bid to reduce reliance on import of locomotives in the wake of rising oil prices.

The state-owned MR manufactured the locomotive through own design after study was made on a locomotive imported from Japan, earlier reports said.

The MR, which previously produced spare parts of machines only, started the production two years ago and it targets to produce six more home-made locomotives and 36 modern passenger coaches in the years ahead, according to the reports.