IRAQ’s Ministry of Transport revealed to local media in late March that the government has approved the purchase of 50 new passenger trains. Likely to be sourced from an international manufacturer, the new trains will run on the double track, 1200km Route of Development currently at the planning stage.

According to an Iraqi official, design studies for this $US 17bn freight and passenger project are now two-thirds complete. The line will run from south to north through Iraq, linking the Grand Port at Al Faw in Basra province to Ovaköy on the Turkish border.

No detailed specifications for the new passenger trains have yet been released. They will run between around 15 stations, including those in major centres such as Baghdad, Basra and Mosul. The Iraqi government has previously said it envisions high-speed services running at up to 300km/h, but has given no timeframe for when this might be achieved.

The Route of Development is initially designed to carry 13.8 million passengers each year, in addition to 22 million tonnes of bulk freight and 3.5 million containers.

Subscribers can read more about the Route of Development project in the April issue of IRJ.