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EghtesadOnline: Iran is preparing to launch what could be the country’s most beautiful rail routes at the heart of a multimodal intercontinental transportation project.

A railway at 205 kilometers from Qazvin to Rasht in northern Iran is near completion and could be among the last pieces of a rail link through which Russia would send its goods to India’s Mumbai several host countries including Iran, according to PressTV.

A report by Iran’s IRNA news agency said the railway could increase the number of tourists visiting Iran’s northern province of Gilan.

Situation on the shores of the Caspian Sea, Gilan is a popular destination for Iranian travelers – specifically during summers and New Year holidays. Official figures show it hosts above 30 million visitors each year.  

The construction of Qazvin-Rasht railway is already seen as one of Iran’s most challenging rail projects given the wide variety terrain. A significant portion of the challenges involved digging 25 kilometers of tunnels and building around 8 kilometers of bridges.

In Gilan, it had to be taken through jungles and above rice lands as well as rivers in a way to minimize damage to the environment.

An extension to the northern port city of Bandar Anzali would take passengers to Caspian shores and also provide a return trip inland for cargos meant for domestic markets or further toward Mumbai through the Persian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas.  Another extension from Rasht would go to Astara in Azerbaijan. 

Earlier, Abbas Akhoundi, Iran’s minister of roads and urban development, said Qazvin-Rasht rail link would be ready for operation by the end of summer.

The International North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC), a multi-model route to link India and the Middle East to the Caucasus, Central Asia and Europe, is being nurtured for significantly reducing costs and travel time and boosting trade.

The ship, road and rail route connects India’s Mumbai to the Iranian port of Bander Abbas and further to Baku in Azerbaijan as well as Astrakhan, Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russia before stretching to northern Europe and Scandinavia.

Iran Railway beauty link NTSC scheme Iran rail routes