Photos of the Iran to Herat railway project

Some photos of the railway under construction between Iran and Herat province.

And some older photos:

Turkmenistan and Afghanistan sign railway agreements

President of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani made an official visit to Turkmenistan at the invitation of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov on 21 February 2019.

As part of the visit, an MoU was signed for Turkmenistan to build the 30 km railway extension from Aqina, on the border, to Andkhoy, the first significant place inside Afghanistan.1 Agreements were also reached for the regulation of cross-border rail traffic, while the possibility of building a Towraghondi to Herat railway is to be studied.

Dwelling on the key areas of economic cooperation, the heads of state specifically focused on the transport and communications sphere. […] The Presidents highly commended the finalization of works and commissioning of the Serhetabat–Torghundi and Kerki–Imamnazar railway networks, and the Rabat–Kashan–Kalai-nau power line.2

[Ghani] noted the presence of big opportunities in different directions of cooperation including in railway transport and communication, having expressed the confidence that Afghan part would also take part in the construction of the railroads of international importance.

In this context, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani highlighted the importance of the initiative about the continuation of Serhetabat – Turgundy railroad to Herat, having assured that Afghan side would make relative work for the implementation of this project.
[…]
Speaking about the partnership in railway sphere, President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani noted the future of continuation of construction of Kerky – Ymamnazar – Akina railroad as well as continuation of Serhetabat – Turgundy railroad to Herat.3

During the visit

Afghanistan Railway Authority (ARA) and Ministry of Transpiration and Communication of Turkmenistan, in the presence of presidents of Afghanistan and Turkmenistan, singed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for construction of railway from Aaqina port to Andkhoy district. This project will be designed and constructed with the length of 30 km from Aaqina railway’s station to Andkhoy railway’s station by technical facilities and professional experts of Turkmenistan’s railway.

It is worth mention that based on the pre-signed contract between the railway authorities of both countries, construction of 10 km new railway for development of Aaqina railway’s station is in progress. Also during the official trip of the president of Afghanistan and containment delegation to Turkmenistan, two other agreements signed between railway authorities of both countries for administration and organizing of Tor Ghondai port railway’s affairs. The parties as well agreed to jointly assess extension possibility of railway from Sarhadabad-Tor Ghondi to Herat city.4

The lines in question are 1520 mm gauge, as with the route from Uzbekistan to Afghanistan.

An “Agreement on International Railway Transit Point on Turkmen – Afghan State border” was signed “on the government level”, and regulations for the organisation of railway communications between Serhetabat and Turgundy [Towraghondi, etc] adopted.5

Khaf – Herat railway Stage 4 Phase 1 approved

Afghanistan’s National Procurement Commission has approved the Phase 1 of Stage 4 of the railway being built from Khaf in Iran to Herat province in Afghanistan. Here is my attempt to identify the Khaf – Herat railway construction stages.

National Procurement Commission in a session dated Feb 18, 2019 approved the design and construction of 43 km of phase 1 of Part 4 of Khawaf-Herat railway from Ghoryan district to Rabat Paryan. This project will be constructed by a Kazakhstani Company from development budget of Afghan Government.

Khawaf-Herat railway comprised from 4 parts with total length of 225 km. The 1st and 2nd parts with length of 76 km completed recently in the territory of Iran and the 3rd part, from the border to Ghoryan district is being constructing with the length of 62 km, will be completed soon for operation.

Khawaf-Herat railway has high economic and transportation importance and by completion and exploitation of it Afghanistan could connect through Iran’s railway to southern borders of Iran and Turkey railway network.

Source: Design and Construction Phase 1 of Part 4 of Khwaf – Herat Railway Approves, Afghanistan Railway Authority, 19 February 2019

Third phase of Khaf to Herat railway complete

Local officials in western Herat province on Tuesday [8 January 2019] said that the third phase of Khawaf-Herat railroad has been completed and that the project will be inaugurated in the near future.

The fourth phase of the project will be implemented soon too, said officials.

[more…]

Source: Third Phase Of Khawaf-Herat Railroad To Be Launched, Nasir Salehi, Tolo News, 8 January 2019

Tajikistan reportedly pulls out of TAT railway project

Conflicting media reports suggest that Tajikistan might, or might not, have pulled out of the Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Tajikistan railway project.

On 22 September Associated Press reported1 that ambassador to Uzbekistan Imom Sodiq Ashourboyzoda had said that Tajikistan had decided to indefinitely postpone the project. The decision had been taken because improved relations with Uzbekistan since the death of its President Karimov2 meant the project was no long feasible. The line would have enabled rail traffic to reach Tajikistan without transiting Uzbekistan.

AP reported that Turkmenistan’s Foreign Ministry said on 22 September that it has formally notified Tajikistan that it did not understand the statement.

The Diplomat published some analysis.3

However, on 25 September Aki Press said4 that Radio Ozodi had reported that a high-level official in the Ministry of Transport of Tajikistan had said work on the project was continuing, Tajik authorities had identified a route and Afghanistan should decide on the route of its section of the line. “We want to have an alternative to the railway running through Uzbekistan,” the transport ministry official reportedly stated.

References

Iran-Afghanistan railway to be launched by March 2019

The railway from Khaf in Iran to Herat province in Afghanistan will be inaugurated by the end of the Persian year [=March 20 2019], Iran’s Deputy Minister of Roads & Urban Development Kheirollah Khademi told local media on 19 July.1

As always, reports are unclear as to exactly how much of the line will open, whether it will be opened in phases and so on. This is not the first time there have been reports that it would open by the next Persian new year.

References

Tajikistan plans route of TAT railway

AzerNews reports that Tajikistan’s Ministry of Transport has provided the government with a draft route for the Tajik section of the Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Turkmenistan railway.1 “The route of the Tajik section runs through the districts of J. Balkhi, Jaihun and Nizhny Pyanj”, the source said. “After the state commission approves the project, the feasibility study for the project will begin, that is, the length of the road, the number of bridges, etc. will be determined”.

Also known as Panji Poyon, Nizhny Pyanj is the location of a bridge over the river which forms the border between Tajikistan and Afghanistan .

References

Towraghondi railway photos

Mirwais Nab, Ambassador of Afghanistan to Turkmenistan, tweets two photos of railway modernisation works at Towraghondi on the Afghanistan-Turkmenistan border.

(As an aside, a priority for the project should be an agreement to settle on one romanised spelling of the place’s name!)