Iran planning major steps for developing intl. railway corridors

February 7, 2022 - 12:52

TEHRAN – Iran is planning to implement major railway projects for completing North-South and East-West international transport corridors which pass through the country, the deputy head of the country’s Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructures Company (CDTIC) has announced.

According to Abbas Khatibi, the Iranian Transport and Urban Development Ministry’s main priorities in the railway transportation sector are the development of the North-South corridor, the development of the East-West corridor, and the development of transit infrastructure in the country, Mehr News Agency reported.

Khatibi noted that the Chabahar-Zahedan railway is the major project underway in the East-West corridor, while Rasht-Caspian and Rasht-Astara railways are the major projects underway in the North-South corridor in Iran.

He said that the North-South corridor is 13,000 kilometers expanding from the Indian port of Mumbai to Finland's capital Helsinki.

A significant section of this corridor, stretching from Bandar Abbas in southern Iran to the northern city of Astara, is located in the Islamic Republic. So far, this railway has been constructed from Bandar Abbas to Rasht in northern Iran and from Rasht, it is divided into two branches, one of which goes to the Caspian Sea coastal region including Caspian and Anzali ports and the other branch goes to Astara to be connected to the railway network of Azerbaijan, according to Khatibi.

He put the physical progress of the Rasht-Caspian railway which is 35 kilometers at 70 percent, saying: "We hope this railway will be operational in the first six months of the next [Iranian calendar] year (begins on March 20).”

The official further mentioned the complexity of the Rasht-Astara project, saying that it is a megaproject that requires over $20 billion of investment to be completed.

“The Rasht-Astara railway project is going to be financed through three methods of domestic financing, foreign investment, and bartering, and we are negotiating to finalize the resources through these methods,” Khatibi explained.

Mentioning the Chabahar-Zahedan railway project, the official said the resources needed for the implementation of this project have been provided From the National Development Fund (NDF), and the project is being implemented on schedule.

“We hope this project will be operational by the end of [the Iranian calendar year] 1402 (March 19, 2024),” he added.

He finally noted that the Transport Ministry is expected to put into operation 1,000 kilometers of new railways in the next Iranian calendar year provided that the necessary funding will be provided by the government.

EF/MA

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