The 628km railway will cross the south-eastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan and will link the provincial capital of Zahedan with Chabahar, Iran’s only oceanic port in the Gulf of Oman.

RAI plans to complete the railway’s initial 150km section by March 2021, the end of the current Iranian year, with the railway’s full length planned for completion by March 2022.

Upon completion, the railway will have 34 stations along its route, and operate passenger trains at 160km/h, with freight trains running at 120km/h. The Iranian ministry of roads and urban development estimates that upon completion, the railway will transport an estimated 927,000 passengers and 2.8 million tonnes of freight per year.

It is hoped that the railway will provide an important economic stimulus in the province, as well as provide a link between the Gulf of Oman and the country’s interior, improving the country’s international transport links. The Iranian government estimates that the project will generate around 13,000 jobs, including around 3000 jobs after the completion of construction.

The railway will also be connected to the Trans-Iranian Railway, allowing for direct rail freight services between Chabahar port and the rest of Iran, as well as landlocked central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. Iran hopes that the project could turn Chabahar into a significant transport hub for the region.

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