The first railway line in Myanmar, between Yangon and Pyay, 161 miles apart, was opened on the 1st of May 1877, by the Irrawaddy State Railway. But in 1896, Irrawaddy State Railway gave way to Burma Railways Co. Ltd. operating on a commercial basis and when the company's lease was ended on the 31st of December 1928, Burma Railways was placed under the Indian Railway Board.

Myanmar and India were separated in 1937 and the Government of Myanmar formed the Burma Railway Board to look after the affairs of the Myanmar Railways. In 1942 the British Governor took over the powers and functions of the Burma Railway Board and redelegated these power to a body of persons with the Chief Railway Commissioner as ex-officio president. This Railway Board continued to function until the 31st of December 1947.

                On the 4th of January 1948, Myanmar gained independence, and a new Railway Board was instituted with Financial Commissioner, Lands and Rural Development, as Chairman. On the 1st of December 1951, the Union of Burma Railway Board Act was enacted under which a full-time permanent Chairman was appointed, who was also to be the Chief Executive Officer.

                The Union of Burma Railway was again reorganized in 1972 and the power and the functions of the Union of the Burma Railway Board were entrusted into the hands of the management committee with the Managing Director who also was to be the Chief Executives as Chairman and the name, Union of Burma Railways was changed to the Burma Railways Corporation

The State Law and Order Restoration Council took over state power on 18th September 1988 and following the change of the Socialist Republic of the Union of Burma to the Union of Myanmar. The name Burma Railways Corporation was changed to Myanma railways on 1st April, 1989. (hereinafter referred to as " MR "). The name  Union  of Myanmar was changed to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar on 30th  March 2011, the name of Myanma Railways was not changed.