News ID: 239253
Published: 0415 GMT February 22, 2019

Quetta-Taftan-Zahedan railway to be modernized: Pakistani minister

Quetta-Taftan-Zahedan railway to be modernized: Pakistani minister

The Quetta-Taftan-Zahedan railway line will be modernized in an accelerated mode, said Pakistan's minister of railways.

Sheikh Rashid Ahmad announced this during a meeting with Iran's Ambassador to Pakistan Mehdi Honardoust in Islamabad on Thursday, reported

The minister said that cooperation in improving the Pakistan-Iran railway network will meet the mutual interests of both countries.

The Quetta-Taftan railway route is one of the four main railway routes in Pakistan operated and maintained by the Pakistan Railways.

The total length of this railway line is 325 kilometers. There are 23 railway stations from Quetta to Taftan. The line then crosses into Iran and extends to Zahedan.

Iran was the first country to recognize Pakistan after its independence.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in August 1947.

Director General of Economic Evaluation Office at the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development of Iran Mohsen Sadeqi discussed the improvement of railway connection between Iran and neighboring countries in an interview with Trend News Agency on Thursday.

"Iran has signed many contracts with international organizations that include neighbors and other countries," he said.

"For example Iran is part of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Trans-Asian Railway (TAR) and Asian Highway (AH) where all the countries from Asia and Pacific have identified their railways and their role in transit," said Sadeqi.

He further stated that while the railway's primary function is for domestic use, the international cargo transit is also very important, and would bring revenues to Iran.

"In this regard, Iran has signed agreements with ESCAP project and these projects are being launched, and the annual report will be send to the ESCAP," he said.

Sadeqi said Iran held discussions with the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) regarding new roads and railways, for Iran's connection to Europe.

Referring to Iran's connection to Europe via a railway, he said that the Islamic Republic is connected to Europe via the Kapikoy/Razi border but Turkey does not have a railway for crossing the Van Lake. Thus, Azerbaijan was chosen, and the Rasht-Anzali-Astara railway was launched.

"The railway will extend to Astara in Azerbaijan and if the project would operate, it will connect to the International North–South Transport Corridor where Iran can transport cargo from southern port of Shahid Rajaei to Astara and Azerbaijan and then to Europe," he added.

"The other issue is the Kermanshah–Khosravi railway that would be effective in passenger transportation to Iraq and for cargo transfer Iran is focusing on Shalamcheh–Basra railway. There are no problems on Iran's side, but there are on Iraqi side, and they're being solved."

Sadeghi also spoke about the Khaf (Iran)-Herat (Afghanistan) project, noting Iran has completed its side, and work should continue on Afghanistan's side.

"Iran is responsible regarding its railway connections, and those unfinished projects are the priority. The potential of neighboring countries should also be used. Building infrastructure is not enough, also negotiations with chambers of commerce would help the transit," said the official.

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