EghtesadOnline: Atotal of 89 rail projects worth 2.77 trillion rials ($10.73 million) were recently inaugurated across the country, during a ceremony attended by Minister of Rroads and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami and CEO of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways Saeed Rasouli.
“These projects were related to infrastructural expansion, railroad renovations, technical development, increasing energy consumption efficiency and passenger service, ticket sale mechanization, facilitating the commuting of the handicapped in rail stations and on trains, reducing air pollution and safety enhancement,” the IRIR chief was quoted as saying by Fars News Agency on Monday.
Eslami said last year Iran has succeeded in manufacturing domestic rails and during the Iranian month ending Dec. 20, the country became self-sufficient in producing cargo wagons, needle rail and train wheels.
“Very soon, we will become self-sufficient in all railroad requirements, including passenger wagons and locomotives, to have a more significant role in the country’s economic developments,” he was quoted as saying by the news portal of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development.
A total of 70 domestically-made and overhauled rolling stock worth 2.23 trillion rials ($8.5 million) joined Iran’s rail fleet on Nov. 24.
“The added fleet included 57 high-sided four-axle, 10 two-axle container carrier wagons and one self-propelled locomotive undergone full-scale renovation,” Rasouli said.
Arak Province’s Wagon Pars Company, Isfahan’s Kowsar Wagon Company, Derakhshan Steel Company, MAPNA Group were the domestic rolling stock manufacturers engaged in the project.
Investors in the project were Azar Kia Trading Company, Pouya Tarabar Pishtaz Company and Raja Railway Transport Company.
The official added that this round’s newly-added fleet have saved the country around €26.8 million and created 856 jobs in the country’s rail sector.
Overall, 500 locomotives and passenger and cargo wagons worth 11.56 trillion rials ($45 million) have been added to the country’s rail fleet since the beginning of the current Iranian year on March 20, showing a 20% increase compared with the similar period of last year.
According to Rasouli, 15 crane locomotives, recently supplied by using foreign funds, have now joined the rail system.
Also on Nov. 24, Iran unveiled its first domestically-manufactured locomotive after 10 years, called “Pars 33”, and with that Wagon Pars Company, which had ceased manufacturing locomotives around 10 years ago, officially resumed its activity in the field of locomotive production.
Mohammad Reza Mokhtari, Wagon Pars CEO, says the company plans to manufacture three more locomotives by the end of the current Iranian year on March 20, 2021.
“Iran has succeeded in manufacturing wagon brakes. We had managed to manufacture some parts of this system before, but this is the first time 100% locally-made wagon brakes have been installed on our rail fleet,” he said.
Iranian rail transport companies have placed orders with domestic companies for them to manufacture a total of 8,077 rolling stock, ILNA reported.
Eslami told Mehr News Agency that the government has set a goal of producing and overhauling 2,000 rolling stock by the yearend and to reach that goal, the Roads Ministry has issued permits for passenger wagon manufacturers to be able to produce cargo wagons.
Moreover, IRIR signed a contract with IRICO for the rolling stock manufacturer to overhaul locomotives and wagons as part of the plan to reach the set target.
IRICO, founded in 2003, is an Iranian manufacturer of passenger rolling stock. The company is headquartered in Tehran and has a factory in Zanjan Province’s Abhar County where it designs and manufactures various types of rolling stock such as passenger coaches, metro cars, Diesel Multiple Units, various freight wagons and bogies in accordance with the standards of the International Union of Railways.
Eslami has also told Fars News Agency that last year (March 2019-20) a total of 788 locally-made rolling stock worth 12.7 trillion rials ($50 million) joined the Iranian rail system, adding that the government aims to increase this figure by 45% by March 20, 2021.
The minister said Iran benefits from around 14,000 kilometers of railroads stretched across the country, adding that the same amount is under construction or being designed.
“Plans are to inaugurate all these projects at hand within the next five years,” he added.
Eslami noted that in view of domestic demand for wagons and locomotives, the government is giving priority to local manufacturers and their production capacity.
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 to 30% and 20% respectively by the end of the plan.
Eslami said in September that before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, the share of rail in cargo transportation stood at close to 13% and estimated that the figure will rise to 15% by the yearend.
The share of rail in passenger transportation currently amounts to around 8%.