Monday, 6 July 2015

Ywa Taung Locomotive Workshop


In 1958, Myanma Railways embarked on a programme of dieselisation. The initial purchase was six diesel locomotives, after which steam locomotives were gradually phased out as more diesel locomotives were acquired. Initially, all major repairs were carried out at the existing Locomotive Workshop at Insein, Yangon. There's a report on a visit I made to Insein in the post Insein Locomotive Works. But, as the number of diesel locomotives increased, it was decided that a second workshop was required and in 1969 work commenced on a second workshop at Ywa Taung, not too far from Mandalay, initially to carry out repairs on the Diesel Hydraulic fleet of locomotives. The Ywa Taung Workshop was opened on 1st April 1975 and, over the last 40 years, has successfully expanded its role to cover repairs of Diesel Electric Locomotives and carry out staff training for both Mechanical and Electrical departments.

Ywa Taung Locomotive Workshop (Photo: Myanma Railways)

On 1st May 2015, I spent the day with my friend Htein Lin and his family, as described here. It was a public holiday so Ywa Taung Locomotive Workshop was closed, but I was able to discuss the work done by the Factory with the Divisional Mechanical Engineer Production.

The Main Gate at Ywa Taung Locomotive Workshop.

Locomotives are admitted to the Works for one of three reasons:-
1. Major Overhaul (M8). This is a Heavy repair normally carried out after 24,000 hours in service.
2. Semi-Overhaul (M7). This is a Mid-life repair normally carried out after 12,000 hours in service.
3. Nominated repairs. These follow a failure in service which cannot be repaired at the running depot.
I believe the Workshop is carrying out 20 heavy repairs each year and around 100 nominated repairs (I don't have a figure for Semi-Overhaul).

Of the 665 employees at the Workshop, 472 have Basic Education, 20 have a B.Eng., 40 hold a Dip. Eng. (B Tech), 33 a Dip. Eng. (ETC) and 100 hold a B.A. in Science or Arts. The Staff Training provided at the Workshop forms an important part of Staff Development. Basic and Advanced courses are provided in Welding, Machining, Fitting, Electrical, Diesel Locomotive Repair, Electrical Repair. There is also an Electronics Course and a Technical Skills Refresher Course. Currently 160 persons are receiving training each year.

Ywa Taung Workshop produces its own Brake Blocks and Cylinder Liners.

A particular problem faced by Myanma Railways has been the long period of Myanmar's relative isolation from the rest of the world which, it is hoped, will continue to ease. One result has been an aging locomotive fleet. Out of 405 locomotives, the distribution by age is significant:-

Quantity Age (yrs)
220 over 30
71 20 - 30
72 10 - 20
42 under 10

The age and diversity of the locomotives has required considerable ingenuity on the part of the railway to keep the fleet operational. Insein carries out most of the 'Re-powering' of locomotives where obsolete prime-movers need to be replaced but Ywa Taung has also demonstrated its ability to 'Re-power', fitting a CAT 3508 engine to locomotive DD901 in 2007.

Ywa Taung Workshop has 130 machine tools in use (of which only one is a CNC machine), plus a further 37 which are currently unserviceable.

A further consequence of this isolation has been the need to produce local designs using available parts for a number of special-purpose vehicles and Ywa Taung Factory has been involved in the design and manufacture of a number of special-purpose vehicles.

D1B Short Trip Locomotive

Running number Build Year
D1B 301 1993
D1B 302 1993
D1B 303 1993
D1B 304 1993

DB Shunting Locomotive

Running number Build Year
DB 302 1993
DB 303 1993
DB 304 2011
DB 305 2012

LRBE Local Rail Bus Engine

Running number Build Year
LRBE 68 2003
LRBE 69 2003
LRBE 72 2004
LRBE 73 2004


Running number Build Year
DAL 2026 2000
DAL 2027 2000
DAL 2028 2000
DAL 2029 2001
DAL 2030 2002
DAL 2031 2002
DAL 2032 2003
DAL 2033 2003

DRC Diesel Rail Car

Running number Build Year
DRC-101 2001
DRC-102 2002

MCA Motor Car Armour

Running number Build Year
MCA 5 2003
MCA 16 2004

RGC Rail Gang Car

Running number Build Year
RGC 007 2004
RGC 008 2004
RGC 009 2004
RGC 010 2005
RGC 011 2005
RGC 012 2005

EMC Engineering Motor Car

Running number Build Year
EMC(D) 26 2006
EMC(D) 27 2006
EMC(D) 28 2006

DMU Diesel Multiple Unit

Running number Build Year
DMU-301 2001
DMU-302 2002
DMU-304 2003
DMU-305 2004

Associated posts on this site

Diesel Traction in Burma.
All my posts describing railways in Myanmar can be found here.


It's impossible not to be impressed by the professionalism and dedication of all the railway employees, often working under difficult conditions to keep the trains moving. I am grateful to Myanma Railways staff for providing much of the information in this post but any errors are my own.

My pictures

The following albums (on Flickr) include pictures relevant to this post:-

Presentation on Ywa Taung Diesel Locomotive Workshop.
Ywa Taung Station & Diesel Locomotive Workshop.

All my pictures showing railways in Myanmar can be found here.