The present station, built in 1946 (above),
and the first Yangon Railway Station on Phayre Street (below).
THE first railway line in Myanmar was inaugurated in May 1877,
carrying passengers a distance of 262 kilometres (161 miles) from
Yangon to Pyay.
Passengers in Yangon were served by the Yangon Railway Station
built in 1877 on the southern side of the railway compound on
the upper block of Phayre Street (now Pansodan Street) in the
The building was designed in the British Victorian style and
the access roads were bordered by grassy lawns. The beauty of
the property prompted locals to praise the new structure as the
The second Yangon Railway Station was completed in 1911 on the
northern side of the railway compound. It was built on Kwun-Chan
Street (kwun-chan means “betel-growing area”) and
is still called Kwun-Chan Station by locals.
The building was 228 metres (753 feet) in length and had a total
floor area of 3763 square metres (40,500 square feet), providing
ample space for the passenger load of the time.
By 1925, Myanmar’s railway system had been extended to
2786 kilometres (1720 miles) and total passengers numbered up
to 3.4 million a year. Trains for Mandalay left Yangon at noon
and reached their destination at 6:45am, 18 hours and 45 minutes
The Yangon Railway Station became a favourite target for Japanese
bombers during World War II. In 1943 it was destroyed by British
forces retreating to India.
The station was rebuilt following the war according to a design
drawn by engineer U Hla Thwin and based on Myanmar architectural
styles. The new structure was 5110 square metres (55,000sq ft)
in size. To the north were grass lawns, gardens and wide access
The new design was approved by the Railway Authority on May
7, 1946. Construction was started in January 1947 by engineer
Sithu U Tin and completed in May 1954 at a total cost of K4.75
million. The opening ceremony of the new Yangon Railway Station
was held on June 5, 1954.
Now, 129 years after construction of the first station, the
Yangon Railway Station is among nearly 190 buildings on the Yangon
City Development Committee’s list of heritage structures
worthy of preservation.