Mandalay’s enormous train station includes a government-run MTT office (22541; 9.30am-6pm), just inside the main (east) entrance. Come here for English-language information on train times, but aim to buy your tickets upstairs to avoid the MTT commission. Better still don’t use the train, as it is a government operation.
There are several trains daily from Yangon. While the tracks are old and, in some cases, the carriages may be old, the fifteen hour journey is quite pleasant. Note that in Fall of 2006 all trains were rescheduled to travel during the day (so that trains do not cross Pyinmana in the dark) but at least one train (the privately managed Dagon Mann Express) now runs overnight. Fares range from about US$15 (ordinary class/hard seat) to US$50 (Air Conditioned Sleeper on the Dagon Mann Express).
From Lashio, Hsipaw, and Pwin U Lwin
There are two trains daily from Pyin U Lwin (US$4/$2) and one from Lashio via Hsipaw and Pwin U Lwin (US$9/3 from Hsipaw). These trains are slow, crowded, but fascinating. The Pyin U Lwin - Hsipaw section includes the famous Gokteik Viaduct, a feat of Raj ingenuity (and American construction!).
This twenty-four hour journey is on old rolling stock and even older tracks so expect it to be bumpy!