Transcontinental freight train to Iran? Railway officials meet to discuss feasibility

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Government representatives and railway officials are discussing the feasibility of operating a transcontinental freight train service from Bangladesh to Turkey and Iran. Railway officials from Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and the Russian Federation will put forth their views on the same.

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Transporting goods across the region will get cheaper if the plan materialises.

The train, if it materialises, will connect Dhaka to Tehran, via Howrah, Delhi and Lahore. This would be a significant step to boost trade and economic activities in the Asia-Pacific region.

The transcontinental railway system will connect eight nations, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and Turkey.

The two-day multinational meeting will discuss various issues pertaining to this service. Officials from Pakistan, Iran and Turkey will not attend this meet in New Delhi. It is being organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), in association with the Indian Railway Ministry.

This is the first of three such meetings between officials.

China has embarked on a similar journey recently, with a freight train from Yiwu City in the Zhejiang Province completing its journey to London in 17 days. This train crossed seven other countries, namely Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany and France on its way to England.

Given the fact that the region between Bangladesh and Iran is a contiguous stretch, a freight train could lead to overall development of the region.

The initial plan of UNESCAP was to develop a Trans-Asian Railway Southern Corridor from Thailand to Turkey, but this was modified on account of an incomplete railway link in Myanmar.

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