EghtesadOnline: The western flank of Line 2 of the urban subway system in the shrine city of Mashhad in the northeastern Khorasan Razavi Province was launched late last week to further expand the already operating public transportation network.
During a two-day visit to Mashhad, a high-ranking delegation headed by Vice President Es'haq Jahangiri inaugurated 4.5 kilometers of Line 2, IRNA reported.
Mashhad’s subway network comprises four lines (two of which are still under construction) and is planned to extend over 85 kilometers.
The 14.5-km Line 2 has 13 stations, nine of which had been already operating. It used to connect Tabarsi Boulevard to the east, to Shariati Square, which intersects Line 1, according to Financial Tribune.
The line has been developed further and expanded to the west, reaching Kaveh Boulevard.
During a visit to the newly-opened stations, the vice president said, "The expansion of subway system in the shrine city can boost decent transportation services in Mashhad."
Jahangiri noted that Mashhad is Iran's main hub of religious tourism, drawing close to 25 million people from in and outside the country annually. Therefore, the development of subway, as a clean means of transportation with a high passenger capacity, should be high on the agenda of urban and state officials.
Mashhad Mayor Mohammad Reza Kalaei noted that the construction of the western wing of Line 2 has cost 33 trillion rials ($275 million).
Line 2 Access
Line 2 of Mashhad’s subway system links east to west of the city, providing access to other urban facilities as well as natural and historical attractions.
Through Rah-Ahan (meaning railroad in Persian) Station, the line gives direct access to Mashhad Train Station, a transport corridor to regions across the country.
Line 2 can also provide easy access to Kouh-e-Sangi (Stone Mountain in Persian) Park via a namesake station. The park is a favorite tourist hub in the central-western part of the city.
Besides, Shohada Station on this line is the closest junction to the holy shrine of Imam Reza (PBUH), the eighth Shia Imam. The mausoleum is at about 25 minutes of walking distance from the metro station. Taxi services are also available at the station.
Of the four lines mapped for Mashhad's subway network, lines 1 and 2 are fully operational.
Line 1, with a length of 24 km and 24 stations, was launched in February 2011 and is used by about 120,000 commuters every day.
Malekabad Garden Museum, one of the most popular attractions of the city, is accessible via Khayyam Station.
Line 1 crosses Mellat Amusement Park and Mashhad International Exhibition Center on the city's northwestern flank.
The subway makes its way through Kouhestan Park-e-Shadi Complex that is home to a zoo, as well as the famous Vakilabad Garden.
There are currently some 90 subway cars operating on the two active lines.
Experts say plans for building two unfinished lines (lines 3 and 4) are under review.
The Unfinished Part
The metro map printed by Mashhad Municipality shows that Line 3 will eventually have 24 stations stretching all the way from the northwest in Amirieh Boulevard to the southwest in Abouzar district and traverses 8 kilometers. Shohada Junction connects lines 2 and 3.
Line 4 links the Khajeh Rabi' neighborhood in the northeast to the city center. It then continues to the southeast reaching Shahid Bahonar neighborhood.
During the inaugural ceremony, Kalaei said work has been started to boost the construction of Line 4.
“Based on the plans, the construction of the middle segment of Line 3 will become operational by 2021,” he said.
The section includes nine stations, stretching from Ferdowsi Square to Imam Reza (PBUH) passenger terminal in the central part of the city.
CEO of Mashhad Urban Railway Company Kianoush Kiamarz has said 7 kilometers of the Line 3 tunnel has been drilled so far.
Mashhad, with 3.5 million people, has a decent subway and BRT systems. Work on its subway network was started a decade ago.