Islamabad: After a gap of about nine years, the Istanbul-Islamabad freight train is likely to resume operations on March 4, connecting the freight train business of three countries: Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey.
“The affected neighborhoods have informed us that the container train will start its journey from Istanbul (Turkey) to Islamabad (Pakistan) via Zahidan on March 4 (Thursday). Although the schedule will be reconfirmed in a day or two, so far March 4, is the final departure date for the train from Istanbul,”
“In Pakistan, ministries of foreign affairs and railways are coordinating with the secretariat of the Organization for Economic Cooperation (ECO), which is also in contact with the respective departments / ministries of Turkey and Iran,”
The freight train will complete its one-way journey in 12 days and is expected to arrive in the dry port of Islamabad on March 16. Federal Railways Minister Azam Khan Swati will also be present at the train station for the occasion, officials said. The freight train will leave for Istanbul on March 19.
“The Pakistani Railways (PR) also have plans to resume this train operation from 19, as it is currently reserving goods for Turkey and Iran,”
According to Pakistani Railways, the first train from Islamabad to Istanbul was inaugurated on August 14, 2009.
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Similarly, on August 13, 2010, the first train from Istanbul arrived at the dry port of Islamabad.
Around, eight trains have been sent from Pakistan to Turkey, with the last one departing from the dry port of Lahore on November 5, 2011.
Since the service was launched in 2009, Turkey has sent six trains to Pakistan, with the last arrived here. on 9 December 2011.
“The train called ‘ECO Train’ will operate regularly on Thursdays which fall in the first week of each month. The permitted load will be 750 gross tons. The length of the train would be 420 meters, “according to a statement.
It is appropriate to mention here that the rail service will connect Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI), minimizing the travel time period of goods to these countries.
It will help strengthen trade between these countries. The total length of the ITI project is 6500 km, covering a distance of 2600 km in Iran, 1950 km in Turkey and 1990 km in Pakistan.
Earlier, on January 13, Pakistan and Turkey had agreed to pursue their efforts to further improve bilateral trade and economic relations.
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Under the current train start agreement and schedule jointly agreed by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, the travel time between Drence-Kapıköy (Turkey) and Zahedan-Tabriz (Iran) will be 90 hours each.
From Zahedan to Islamabad, the train would take 135.5 hours.
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