Tehran, Iran, Sep.3
The Chabahar-Zahedan and Rasht-Astara Railways will be operational with the resources of the National Development Fund in next two years, the Iran's Minister of Roads and Urban Development announced.
"Iran needs to reclaim its regional share of the rail network and enter the global market," said during the ceremony of the commissioning of 213 new rail fleets, Trend reports citing IRNA.
“Seven percent of the world's population lives in Asia, which is rich in energy resources, and we can use that potential,” the Minister of Roads and Urban Development added.
The minister spoke about the goals of the development of the rail network in the country, which include enhancing passenger satisfaction, connecting to different provinces, and modifying and improving rail routes.
"We need to make the most of the available resources in order to develop the rail network, while putting the connection of domestic and foreign freight centers on the agenda,” he added.
Some 100 million tons of shipments are transferring via the Caspian Sea, and Iran needs to increase its share of cargo transportation in the region, said Eslami.
He promised that the Chabahar-Zahedan and Rasht-Astara railways will be completed in next two years. “It was agreed that the National Development Fund will provide resources to implement the project,” he said.
The minister added that with connecting Rasht to Astara of Azerbaijan and Chabahar to Zahedan, Iran will have one of the most important north-south corridors.
The Astara-Rasht-Qazvin railway is a transport corridor that connects existing railways of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran. The project is carried out within the framework of the International North–South Transport Corridor. The purpose of the project is to integrate the transport and information routes of Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran and India.
The agreement on the route's construction was signed by three parties (Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia) in 2005. The most challenging section from an engineering point of view was the construction of the railway between Rasht and Ghazvin, which started in 2009 and took nearly a decade to complete. That section of the line opened in November 2018.
The bridge and short section of track between Iranian and Azerbaijani Astara was completed in March 2017.
As of early 2019, the construction of the Rasht-Astara leg remained at a 'study and review stage', but with approval granted in Iran as of January and around half of the estimated cost ($1.1 billion) secured by a preferential loan of $500 million from Azerbaijan.