According to local media reports, the government plans to award the contract to Japanese companies because the study has been funded by the Japanese government, which is also expected to provide loans for the project.

Meanwhile deputy railway minister Mr Thura Thuang Lwin has confirmed that an unnamed Chinese supplier will establish assembly plants for the production of diesel locomotives and rolling stock in Myanmar by the end of 2015. The facilities will require an investment of around $100m, around 90% of which will be funded through loans from China.

Myanmar Railways' current roster includes 281 diesel locomotives, 50 dmu cars, 827 coaches and 2969 wagons, although much of the fleet is life-expired.