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Tehran-Mashhad Railroad Project Gets Off the Ground

The rail project is expected to take up to 48 months and reduce the travel time between the two cities, cut down pollution and increase the railroad’s transportation capacity
Railroad officials intend to transport 35 million passengers via the Tehran-Mashahd line annually after the electrification project is completed.Railroad officials intend to transport 35 million passengers via the Tehran-Mashahd line annually after the electrification project is completed.

The electrification of the 926-km railroad from Tehran to the eastern city of Mashhad in Khorasan Razavi Province will increase the speed of the line from the current 160 kph to 200 kph once the project comes on stream, according to the Minister of Roads and Urban Development.

"We hope to be able to transport 35 million passengers via this line every year," he was quoted as saying by the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways' news portal.

According to the minister, Iran has recently paid its $200 million share of the project financing, as China opened a line of credit worth $1.5 billion for the same.

The financing contract had been signed in Tehran on July 26 between Exim Bank of China and Iran’s Bank of Industry and Mine.

According to the Persian daily Donya-e-Eqtesad, this is the first and largest LOC to have opened and made available for Iran after international nuclear-related sanctions against the country were lifted in January 2016, following the signing of a landmark agreement between Tehran and world powers a year earlier.

The electrification project will be carried out by China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation, otherwise known as CMC. Iran’s MAPNA Group is the main contractor of the project.

IRIR deputy head, Maziar Yazdani, said 60% of the project will use domestic capabilities.

The project is expected to take up to 48 months and reduce the travel time between the two cities, cut down pollution and increase the railroad’s transportation capacity.

A subsidiary of China General Technology Group, CMC is an international engineering contractor in transportation infrastructure, industrial facilities and power plants.

In 2014, the company constructed the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railroad, together with China Railway Construction Corporation Limited and Turkish companies.

For Iran, the electrification of Tehran-Mashhad line is part of its wider rail development plan to electrify all railroads by 2025.

The railroad is a strand of the so-called New Silk Road–a 2,300-kilometer Chinese railroad that ultimately links Urumqi, the capital of China’s western Xinjiang Province, to the Iranian capital Tehran, connecting Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan along the way, according to China’s state-owned paper China Daily.

From Tehran, the grand project will join Iran’s east-west network leading to Turkey and eastern Europe. It could also open a way to Europe via a developing rail route from southern Iranian ports to Azerbaijan and Europe.

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