iSurprise Railway Factory

Where the Burma Railway Company built its steam trains

In the evening old people would hang out on the rail tracks by the factory and chit chat about politics.
— U Kyaw San

Insein Railway Factory

The Insein railway complex is huge (27 acres!) and very old dating back to 1857. This was where in the old days steam trains were built. Not much activity here now, but in the old days this was the epicentre of railway infrastructure in the country with over 1,500 workers. They all lived in the nearby residential quarters, a huge complex kitted out with a swimming pool, tennis courts and football field. “In the evening old people would hang out on the rail tracks by the factory and chit-chat about politics”, says U Kyaw San, senior Mechanical Engineer, working here since 2003.

Steam locomotives

Although trains are no longer built here, it still is a centre of expertise for head engine repair and maintenance. When a train engine reaches the age of 15 year, it is renovated with imported 2nd hand parts sourced from India, France and Germany. Since a few years, also new locomotives have been added to the fleet imported from China and Japan.

For good merit

Near the tracks, you see saparhnan hanging from a tree. This is dried unmilled paddy rice which is bought by locals early in the morning (500 kyat) to provide food for sparrows. The person receives good merit for this offering, and hopefully a better Buddhist reincarnation in the next life.

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