EghtesadOnline: The 132-km-long Mianeh-Bostanabad railroad, part of a bigger Mianeh-Tabriz rail project connecting East Azarbaijan Province to the national rail network, is scheduled to be inaugurated by President Hassan Rouhani on Nov. 21, the deputy head of the Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructure Company for railroad expansion.
“A total of 14.14 trillion rials [$124.03 million] worth of investments have been made in this project, which will reduce Tehran-Tabriz travel distance and time by 114 kilometers and five and a half hours respectively, compared with the old route,” Abbas Khatibi was also quoted as saying by ILNA, adding that the current cost of the project is estimated to be 50 trillion rials (438.59 million).
The official noted that the transportation of 2 million passengers and 7 million tons of cargo has been targeted via Mianeh-Bostanabad railroad over the next two decades.
According to Khatibi, Mianeh-Bostanabad railroad will create 200 direct jobs and 16 million liters of fuel will be saved annually through cargo and passenger transportation via this railroad, Financial Tribune reported.
Construction work on this route started in the fiscal 2001-2.
“The second phase of this rail route from Mianeh to Tabriz, which is part of a corridor that helps connect East Asia to West Asia and Europe, has made 85% progress and will come on stream by the end of the next Iranian year [to start March 20, 2020],” he said.
Khatibi noted that Mianeh-Bostanabad railroad was one of the government’s five rail projects prioritized in 2017.
“The other four projects, namely Tehran-Hamedan, Malayer-Kermanshah, Maragheh-Urmia and Qazvin-Rasht, have since been inaugurated and Miyaneh-Bostanabad will be the last project to be completed,” he said.
Speaking on the sidelines of the Seventh International Exhibition of Rail Transportation, Related Industries and Equipment (RAILEXPO 2019), held from June 9-12 at Tehran International Exhibition, Minister of Roads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami identified priorities of the ministry under his watch in the current Iranian year (ending March 19, 2020).
The first priority, he said, was to hold talks with the Iraqi side on selecting a contractor for the Shalamcheh-Basra railroad.
The launch of the 32-kilometer railroad boosts Iran's exports to Iraq and from this route to West Asian and North African countries.
In order to complete the Shalamcheh-Basra railroad, the 17-kilometer Khorramshahr-Shalamcheh railroad project was completed in 2011 to connect the Iranian railroads to Iraq, and it was decided to join the city of Basra.
To build the railroad, the Iraqi side was to take measures inside Iraq from Shalamcheh to Basra, but due to economic problems and a shortage of funds, the Iraqi government has so far refused to build this part of Shalamcheh’s railroad to Basra.
To complete the rail project, according to an earlier agreement reached with Iraqi authorities, Iran will construct a 700-meter bridge on Arvandroud river for the railroad to pass above the river and reach Basra Train Station after 32 kilometers.
The Ministry of Roads and Urban Development's other priority, according to Eslami, includes conducting negotiations with domestic and foreign investors to run the Chabahar-Zahedan railroad.
Iran plans to link the port by railroad to Zahedan on the Pakistani border up to Mashhad in the northeast.
On the back of a rail link that stretches to Iran’s northwestern border, Chabahar will facilitate the transport of goods from India to the landlocked countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States as well as Afghanistan.
India has agreed to build a 500-km railroad from Chabahar to Zahedan, the provincial capital of Sistan-Baluchestan, close to the Afghan border. India’s state-owned IRCON has agreed to build a rail route at a cost of $1.6 billion as part of the transit corridor to Afghanistan.
After connecting Chabahar to Zahedan, the railroad will be linked to Zaranj in Afghanistan. Hence, when the Afghan cargo arrives in Zahedan, it can be transported by a 1,380-km railroad to Chabahar and then shipped to India.
The Cabinet recently decided to allocate €300 million needed to complete the railroad project connecting the southeastern port city of Chabahar to the eastern city of Zahedan near the border with Afghanistan and Pakistan, both in Sistan-Baluchestan Province, from the National Development Fund of Iran, the country’s sovereign wealth fund.
The decision came after the Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei authorized the funding.
The Isfahan-Bafgh railroad is among other priorities of the ministry, Eslami said.