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EghtesadOnline: Iranian knowledge-based companies and tech firms unveiled a largely localized subway wagon during an event held last week in Tehran.

The achievement is expected to alleviate the country’s dependency on foreign resources for subway development plans.

After years of planning and hard work, around 85% of key parts of subway wagons have been localized by tech teams and knowledge-based companies, the Vice Presidential Office for Science and Technology reported on its website

Reportedly, bogie suspension, gangway connection, brakes, wagon wheel and passenger information systems are among numerous components developed by local tech firms.

The unveiling event was attended by Sorena Sattari, vice president for science and technology, Mohsen Hashemi, Tehran City Council chairman, Tehran Mayor Pirouz Hanachi and Manaf Hashemi, Tehran Municipality’s deputy for transportation, who were accompanied by several state officials.

Speaking at the event, Sattari said the unveiled wagon is the result of a project for expanding domestic producers’ share in subway development. “The project was launched a decade ago and their efforts have paid off today,” he said.

The vice president said this is a big step and more good news is anticipated in the near future. 

“We expect that a whole train [with an average of eight wagons] will be produced by the domestic firms and start operation in Tehran’s subway system by February 2021,” he added.

Elaborating on the project, Manaf Hashemi said over 30 urban institutions and offices have collaborated with tech firms in expanding the reach of domestic producers.

Sattari noted that Tehran Metro lacks 1,500 train cars, the production of which will boost urban transportation capacity by 6 million people. 

On the sidelines of the event, 18 tech companies displayed their achievements in producing parts and systems used in subway during an exhibition.



Bankruptcy and Call for Financial Help

Mohsen Hashemi had earlier said lack of budget is the primary impediment in the way of developing public transportation in the metropolis, stressing that the government cannot be blamed, as it is facing the intense pressure of US sanctions.

“It’s a pity to witness Tehran Wagon Manufacturing Company nearing bankruptcy due to financial problems. The factory has so far supplied over 1,000 train wagons for Tehran subway,” he said.

The TCC chief further said the company’s contribution to subway development extends beyond production. 

“Half of TWMC’s staff used to regularly oversee train operations. Officials and the government should help save the company to prevent a huge loss both to its staff and the subway system,” he said.

Nevertheless, he asked Tehran Municipality to forge small-scale agreements with TWMC for wagon production. 

Hashemi also acknowledged the Oil Ministry’s financial assistance to Tehran Metro in April and called on it to help offset the huge revenue loss in the city’s public transportation sector caused by the spread of Covid-19 and further extend the resources.

Two months ago, the ministry invested $15 million in Tehran Metro to help expand the capital’s public transportation network.

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh told reporters that the money was supplied from revenue generated from fuel price rationing scheme that was introduced in November 2019 and would be used to add trains to the network. 

The ministry paid 8.3% of financial assistance to Tehran Metro in mid-February and the remaining 91.6% were delivered in April. 



Subway Shortfalls

Urbanists blame mismanagement and lack of budget for the slow progress of developing the subway system in Iranian metropolises

In early June, Mohammad Alikhani, the head of Tehran City Council’s Transportation Commission, had said the capital city’s subway system faces serious shortcomings that will not be obviated even in two decades, if policymaking processes and budget management are not overhauled.

“The subway network still lacks 3,000 train cars to facilitate 10 million daily travels … There are around 1,300 train wagons currently operating in Tehran’s subway, 30% of which need to be upgraded,” he said.  

The capital's subway stretches over 220 kilometers and comprises seven lines (1 to 7) with nearly 120 stations. Lines 6 and 7 are yet to become fully operational.

TM expects the number of commuters to surge by 25% after subway lines 6 and 7 are up and running.

But this is definitely not sufficient for Tehran where, according to pre-coronavirus statistics, over 10 million people commute daily, many from the surrounding cities and towns.

However, Tehran is not the only city facing public transportation deficiencies. Reports show Isfahan, the other metropolis in central Iran, is also grappling with the same problems.


Iran tech firms Production Subway wagon