Assam-Burma Connection Railway Project

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Assam-Burma Connection Railway Survey

A series of proposals from 1892 onwards to link India and Burma by rail; eventually all were dropped [1]

  • Aeng Pass Route In 1892-93 the route from Chittagong, along the Arakan Coast and over the Aeng Pass into Burma was examined. A detailed survey found the Aeng Pass Route had been under estimated and that a line by this route would be exceedingly costly. There were also strong military objections to this route.

Three other routes were surveyed by Robert Atwell Way, a British Engineer appointed by the Government of India(GoI), he reported in 1896:-

  • Coast Route Chittagong on the Assam-Bengal Railway along the Arakan coast and over the An Pass to the Chindwin river in Burma;
  • Manipur Route Leaving the Assam-Bengal Railway near Lumding, via Manipur into the Kubaw valley at Tammu, and crossing the Chindwin near Yuwo, joined the Mu Valley Railway near Wuntho.
  • Hukong Valley Route From near Makum in the north-east coner of Assam and crossing the Patkai range, entering Burma via the Hukong valley, connecting with the Burma Railway system at Mogaung. The Hukong Valley Route was reported to be the most feasible, it was the shortest and estimated to be the cheapest.

In 1896 the Government of India(GoI) were unable to support any of the proposals for the following reasons –

  • There was no prospect of any of the lines being commercially successful;
  • Politically it was not considered that railway connections between India and Burma was a matter of urgency;
  • The military authorities preferred the Manipur Route but there was no immediate necessity for the connection.

Subsequently the Government of Burma proposed a more southerly route than the Aeng Pass Route. A detailed survey was undertaken in 1903-05 for a line from Prome to Taungup and on to Zababin; the proposal was to include a branch to Akyab and onwards to Chittagong thus to connect Burma to Assam.

However none of these proposals were carried out.

Eventually the project was dropped.


An on-line search of the India Office Records (IOR) records held at the British Library relating to this railway project [2] gives the following: -

  • V/27/722/11; “Way, R A, Assam-Burma connection railway surveys, Hukong Valley route: report and approximate estimate, 1896. Calcutta, 1896”