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Given by Mr C. Fyfe.

Xerox copy of the typescript of Mr Fyfe’s Railway history of Burma in 14 chapters.

The 2nd Anglo-Burmese war of 1852 resulted in the annexation of Lower Burma. By the 1860s pressure was growing to build railways in Burma – more from concern over competition with other powers in the China trade than from security considerations, though these were also frequently put forward (chapter 1). In 1853 the first 20 miles of the Great Indian Peninsula Railway were opened from Bombay to Thana; by the end of the decade 5,000 miles of track in India had been sanctioned, involving eight guaranteed companies. Despite heavy financial losses which forced the Indian Government into direct involvement in the financing and building of railways, by the late 1860s the pressure for a line from Rangoon to Prome proved unstoppable (chapters 2 and 3).

The Rangoon – Prome line was opened in 1877 to passenger traffic; work continued well into the 1880s to improve the line and make good the inadequacies caused by using a road as a bed for the track (chapter 4).

The second Burma railway line – from Rangoon to Toungoo, was begun in 1881 and opened in 1885 (chapter 5). With the outbreak of the 3rd Anglo-Burmese war in 1885, which resulted in the acquisition of more territory, pressure to extend this line to Mandalay grew. The extension was sanctioned in 1886 and a further 161 miles were completed by 1889; thus the 400 miles from Rangoon to Mandalay was complete

(chapter 6).

The twin needs of growing trade and security in the growing Burmese territories then proceded to fuel the building of further lines: from Mandalay to Myitkyina (opened in 1899); from Mandalay to Kunlon (completed as far as Lashio in 1903 and which included the spectacular crossing of the Gokteik gorge); and other branch lines (chapters 7 to 13).

The final chapter deals with the operations of the Burma Railway Company, the agency to which the Government farmed out the business of running the railway system. The Company was finally wound up in January 1929.

286pp. in various pagings, 14 maps.