EghtesadOnline: The Islamic Republic of Iran Railways plans to expand suburban rail routes by 400 kilometers and increase railroad transportation capacities through 712 kilometers of double-tracking in the current Iranian year (started March 21), the IRIR deputy for technical and infrastructure affairs said.
“Among other major plans defined for this year are tracking, renovation and reconstruction of 2,572 km, 930 km and 689 km of rail routes across the country respectively,” Maziyar Yazdani was also quoted as saying by the news portal of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.
IRIR plans to add 134 locomotives, 2,800 cargo wagons, 54 intercity passenger wagons and 46 railbuses to its fleet by the end of the current Iranian year (March 2019), according to Financial Tribune.
“At present, there is capacity for 82 million tons of freight transportation, 15 million intercity and seven million suburban passenger transportation by rail. The plan will help further increase these capacities and facilitate transport,” another IRIR deputy head, Mojtaba Tafaqqodi, has been quoted as saying by IRNA.
He added that IRIR aims to decrease the average age of passenger wagons, cargo wagons and locomotives to 20.33, 22.65 and 31.57 years respectively by the fiscal yearend.
According to the official, since the beginning of the plan to revive the country’s passenger fleet in the fiscal 2015-16, some 615 decrepit passenger wagons have been scrapped.
“Plans are to discard 397 more by the yearend,” he said.
According to CEO of Raja Railway Transport Company Mohammad Rajabi, the average age of Iran’s passenger wagons decreased by 22% to 28.5 years in the last fiscal year (ended March 20, 2018) from 36.9 years in the year before.
Raja is affiliated to the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways and manages passenger trains.
Rajabi said the company disposed of around 200 decrepit wagons last year, adding that the number of passenger wagons in Iran presently stands at 1,100.
With the aim of reducing road traffic and battling air pollution, the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development has placed the development of Iran’s rail sector on top of its agenda.
Iran’s Sixth Five-Year Development Plan (2017-22) has tasked the government with increasing the share of rail in cargo and passenger transportation from the current 12% and 8% to a minimum of 30% and 20% respectively by the end of the plan.
To arrive at this goal, Iran’s Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi said $28 billion worth of investment are needed.
Cheap fuel prices in Iran, costing less than 10% of the global average, are the main reason for the popularity of road over rail transportation in Iran.