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User:Mya Thazin (IV-TM-135)

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Goteik viaduct, Pyin Oo Lwin

One of Burma’s most stunning man-made marvels built by the colonial British, Gokteik Viaduct is a spectacular railway bridge over 100 metres above the ground and nearly 700 metres long. Bob James takes the plunge.

After independence in 1948, the Myanmar Rail Transport was assigned to repair the Gokteik. Due to scarcity of construction materials and difficult transportation, it took three years to get it finished in August, 1951 at the cost of K. 3.2 million. With high technology used for the construction and due to scenic beauty around the Viaduct, it is the world’s biggest trestle and the highest one among the viaducts around the world. Leth viaduct in Alberta, Canada is two times longer than the Gokteik but lower than the latter. As the Gokteik is over 100 years old, the strength of the Viaduct has weakened, letting trains travel slowly. The Viaduct is easily accessible from Nawnghkio by car as well as from Mandalay and Pyin-Oo-Lwin by train; some people walk from the Gokteik Station to the Viaduct itself. If one wants to go by train, he will have to take Mandalay-Lashio train from Mandalay or Pyin-Oo-Lwin and descend the train at the Station after crossing the Viaduct. Passers-by are now banned from crossing the Gokteik in order to avoid possible risks. It is eight miles away fromNawnghkio Town. First go to the Gokteik Station after taking the right side on the Pwin-Oo-Lwin-LashioPyidaungsu Highway by going through the Shwepyinyunt village. One can walk along the railway line up to the Viaduct; no one is allowed to go across nor descend it.

With a mixture of scenic beauty of northern Shan State and worldwide fame, the Gokteik Viaduct is not only a historical landmark but also tourists’ attraction. The number of tourists, both domestic and foreign, is increasing year by year and maintenance of the Gokteik Viaduct is a must. Tourism will definitely flourish in connection with the landmark, thereby benefitting large sections of local populace.