I’ve recently received some details of the status of the ECO container train plans, from OTIF:
The idea was introduced in 2008 at the summit of ECO heads of state in Iran, and a trial run from Islamabad to Istanbul set off on 14 August 2009. A regular service started from 11 August 2010, and as of March 2013, 8 trains have operated from Pakistan and 6 from Turkey. The trains have a capacity of 26 TEU, and a running time of 14 days to cover 6349 km.
The service was suspended from January 2012. Work is underway to tackle the following issues:
- The need to improve the track on the 680 km from Quetta to Taftan. A feasibility report has been completed, and financial assistance from prospective financial institutions is awaited.
- Shortage of locomotives.
- A need to include participation of private sector; a study of the feasibility of private sector involvement is underway.