***Travel Permit Required***
For many years strictly off-limits to foreigners, The Myanmar Mines narrow-gauge Railway is the last accessible steam railway in Myanmar. Situated at Namtu in northern Shan State, this is a very exciting destination for railway enthusiasts. Visitors spend two days in the Namtu area including a trip to Bawdwin on one day with Kerr Stuart "Huxley" class 0-4-2T No. 13. You will be accommodated at the mining company's guest house, a fine old colonial building which was once the governor's house, with views overlooking the valley.
The railway is located in a remote area otherwise closed to foreigners. This is a difficult experience for us to arrange and the price does reflect this. However we feel that this unique experience is worth the time and expense.
Typical tours last 4 days, start from Mandalay or Yangon and run on demand between November and May.
The following is a sample itinerary, the actual may vary.
Day 1. Yangon / Mandalay – Namtu.
Day 2. Namtu.
Observe engine No 13 starting up and later board a steam train to Wallah Gorge by 0-4-2T 13 (Kerr Stuart Huxley class, 2383/1914, normally attached to two locally made coaches. Heading on westwards from Namtu the line follows the valley for a further 2 km before turning abruptly into a side valley. From here the line climbs continuously to Bawdwin at a ruling gradient of 1 in 27, hugging the side of the valley for most of the distance. The line twists and turns continuously as it makes its way up the gorge with many spectacular views. Lopah, 8 km from Namtu, has a pretty station building, a loop and some sidings. 3.5 km further on the line reaches the spiral at Wallah Gorge in a very attractive setting overlooked by a small pagoda. On the north side of the line and at a much higher level the electrified line ends in a loop with two tipplers alongside the staithes. One km further along the line reaches Tiger Camp, the junction with the electrified mine lines at an altitude of about 800 meters. The line offers spectacular views, especially around Wallah Gorge. You will be able to make several stops for runpasts as you go up. The major feature of this part of the line is perhaps the full spiral where you can photograph and film to your satisfaction.
From Bawdwin we can travel onward by bus to Marmion mine shaft and observe the mining. The electric winding gear for the shaft is of British origin and dates from 1925. Late afternoon we return to Tiger camp by railcar and then to Namtu by steam locomotive. Dinner and overnight at Namtu Mine guesthouse.
Day 3. Namtu - Nashai - Namyao – Lashio.
Day 4. Lashio – Mandalay.
This itinerary can be extended to allow further overnight stays in Lashio, Hsipaw and Pyin Oo Lwin. Please see the ‘Destinations’ section of the website for more details of these towns.