Iran keen to connect Central Asia railway to Azerbaijan

Business Materials 3 December 2014 16:59 (UTC +04:00)

Baku, Azerbaijan, Dec. 3

By Temkin Jafarov - Trend:
A member of the Construction Commission of Iran Parliament says that the government is expected to hand a $17 billion construction budget to Parliament on Dec.7 and completion of railway grid from Turkmenistan border through Iran to Azerbaijan's Astara is one of priority projects for the next fiscal year.

Yunaten Bet Kelia a member of Construction Commission told Trend Dec.3, "the perspective of north-south railway projects, aimed to connect the west and east of Caspian Sea to Persian Gulf is bright".

The Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway was inaugurated on Dec.3 with participation of states' heads.

The railway project gives easier access for Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to the Gulf, Sea of Oman, China, Turkey, Europe and the Mediterranean, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said during the ceremony of implementation the project.

Agreement on the construction of the railway was signed in 2007, while construction work began in 2009.

Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway is part of the North-South international transport corridor. A project, called the North-South, is being implemented on the basis of an agreement signed in 2007 by Turkmenistan, Iran and Kazakhstan.

The railway length is 925 kilometers in total, with 85 kilometers on Iran 's territory, 700 on Turkmenistan 's territory and the remaining 140 on Kazakhstan 's territory.
There are two other railroad projects in Caspian Sea region, including the completion of railways in the west and south of Caspian Sea.

Iran's Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development and CEO of Iranian Railways, Mohsen Pour Seyed Aghaei told Trend Oct.22. Iran has a plan to complete Incheh Borun (Turkemnistan-Iran border) - Sari-Rasht as well as Qazvin-rasht-Astara (Azerbaijan-Iran) railways.

On the other hand, the Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railrold will connect Russian rail grid through Azerbaijan.

Bet Kelia said that connection of a circular railway around the Caspian Sea is very profitable for all regional countries adding that in the budget of the current fiscal year (started on March 21, 2014) no budget was allocated to complete the southern part of Caspian Sea railroad (connecting Incheh Borun to Astara), but the Construction Commission is ready to approve any needed budget bill for realization of this project.

Qazvin-Rasht-Astara railway with the length of 375 kilometers is currently the missing link in the North-South transport corridor and it will link the Northern Europe to South-East Asia. It will link the railroads of Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia.

The construction of Qazvin-Rasht railway with the length of 205 kilometers has already been completed. Its capacity will be equal to 1.4 million passengers and 5-7 million metric tons of cargo per year, according to the preliminary estimates. Some 22 tunnels, 15 bridges will be built on the railway. The construction of 15 tunnels has already been completed.

--- Temkin Jafarov is Trend Agency's staff journalist Follow him on Twitter: @JafarovTemkin