Russia agrees railway modernisation plan

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Russian Railways and Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (RAI) have signed an agreement worth 1.2bn euros to electrify a section of Iran’s railway system linking the north-east of the country with Turkmenistan, Press TV reported on 25 November.

The project involves building power stations and overhead power lines along the Garmsar-Sari-Gorgan-Inche Burun route.

“The implementation of the contract will improve the capacity of passenger trains and raise transit to 8 million tons,” Press TV reported RAI Managing Director Mohsen Poursaeed-Aqaei as saying. He signed the agreement with Russian Railways.

The line to Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

Press TV reported the project will be financed by the Russian government and will be implemented in 36 months. It involves manufacturing all electric locomotives inside Iran, electrifying 495 kilometres of railway and building 32 stations and 95 tunnels.

“With the implementation of this contract, besides the electrification of the line, tunnels on the way will be enlarged, enabling Russian and other transit wagons to ply conveniently on it,” Poursaeed-Aqaei was quoted as saying.

Press TV reported that Russia will finance the project as part of its $5 billion credit line for infrastructure projects in Iran. Russian state-owned Vnesheconombank will provide another 2 billion euro export loan to the Islamic Republic.

President Putin was reported as saying during his visit to Tehran earlier this week that Russia and Iran have selected 35 priority projects in energy, seaports, and railway electrification. Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak has said Tehran and Moscow the projects that are worth $35 billion to $40 billion.

“We plan to expand the dynamics of our bilateral relations,” Putin was reported as saying.

Developing Iran’s railway network is a government priority. China has announced plans to develop a high-speed rail link to Iran through central Asia. Iran’s rail network is 8,000 miles long.