Baku, Azerbaijan, March2
By Fatih Karimov - Trend:
Iranian and Azerbaijani national railways will be connected to each other in the near future, ISNA quoted Iranian Railways Company deputy director Hassan Ashouri as saying on March 2.
He made the statement on the sidelines of the third meeting of the joint working group of Iran, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan on the railway projects, which opened in Tehran on Sunday.
To connect the railways, the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway in Iran should be inaugurated. The Qazvin-Rasht section of the railway, with the length of 205km, will be inaugurated soon, he explained.
The studies for the construction of Rasht-Astara railway, with the length of 167km, have been completed, he noted.
The Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway project is completed by 84 percent, ISNA quoted Masoud Nasrazadani, an official at the Iranian railways company as saying on January 10.
The railway is estimated to carry 1.4 million passengers and 5-7 million tons of cargo per year, he added.
Trains of up to 160 kilometers speed per hour will be used in the project, he noted.
On December 13, ISNA quoted Deputy Director of the Iranian Transportation Infrastructures Development Company, Hossein Nazadar, as saying that the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway project has been grappling with a budget deficit.
The railway had been scheduled to be inaugurated this year, but the project is faced with a budget deficit, he added. If the financial problem is resolved, the railway will be inaugurated next year, he said.
It should be recalled that the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway is part of 'the North-South' transport corridor and is being constructed by Azerbaijan, Russia and Iran.
On Nov. 18, Azerbaijan's ambassador to Tehran Javanshir Akhundov underlined the importance of this rail route for the expansion of bilateral ties between Tehran and Baku, IRNA reported.
"Launching the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway will lead to expansion of economic relations between Iran and Azerbaijan," Akhundov said during a visit made by representatives of the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) whilst referring to the under-construction of the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara rail network.
He pointed out that its construction will link Iran's railway system to Russia via Azerbaijan.
"These three countries, namely Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia, have a trilateral contract for construction and completion of the railway system," he added.