BAKU, Azerbaijan, Dec.15
By Natavan Rzayeva - Trend:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $162 million loan that will electrify 465 kilometers of the railway line connecting major urban centers in western Uzbekistan, improving railway services and boosting trade and tourism in the region, Trend reports citing to the press services of the bank.
The project will electrify the track linking the regions of Uzbekistan like Bukhara, Miskin, Urgench, and Khiva—a UNESCO world heritage site in the Khorezm region. It will enable the operation of high-speed trains that run at up to 250 kilometers per hour, cutting travel time between Bukhara and Khiva by up to two hours, and making the journey to Khiva from the capital Tashkent possible in seven hours.
“Reliable and safe transport infrastructure is a key driver of economic growth, particularly in double landlocked Uzbekistan,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov.
The project is part of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Corridor 2, which links China to Europe via Central Asia. It will help improve Uzbekistan’s connectivity and trade with neighboring countries and further afield, by expanding the frequency and quality of train services.
ADB will also support the development of the tourism industry in the project area by developing an electronic ticketing system, training and involving women in tourism management, and guiding urban development around train stations with access and safety features for women, children, the elderly, and the mobility impaired.
Once the Bukhara to Khiva line is electrified, annual passenger traffic is expected to increase from around 280,000 passengers this year to more than 1,000,000 passengers by 2026. Freight is projected to reach a total of 11.8 million tons per year by 2026.