Asian Development Bank has details of the Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif Railway Project. “Interesting to see it all in one place” says Michael G Erickson who spotted it.
The Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif railway link is part of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program. It fits with Transport Corridors 3 and 6, which connect Central Asia to South Asia and the region to the Caucasus and the Middle East. Although the road between Hairatan and Mazar-e-Sharif has been improved, it cannot meet national and regional traffic needs. A railway from Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif will (i) improve links between Afghanistan and neighboring countries, as well as nearby seaports; and (ii) develop an integrated transport network that caters for different cargo.
The existing Uzbek railway network stops at the border town of Hairatan. This is a gateway to Afghanistan, but it has reached its full capacity (4,000 tons of cargo per month). The flow of goods from Central Asia to Afghanistan will increase from 25,000 tons to 40,000 tons per month over the next few years. To prevent bottlenecks at the border, the existing Uzbek railway at Hairatan needs to be extended into Afghanistan, in a first intervention, to Mazar-e-Sharif. At a later stage, the railway network will be extended to Herat in the west and Tajikistan in the east. The railway will service commercial and non-military cargo.
The project is a priority one for Afghanistan. It fits with its Railway Development Plan. It is closely linked to ADB’s Country Partnership Strategy for 2009-2013, which identifies the construction and rehabilitation of national roads and railways as a priority. It is also consistent with the CAREC Transport and Trade Facilitation Strategy.
The Project outputs will be (i) around 80kms railway line from Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif with support facilities including rail/road connections and terminals constructed; (ii) established signaling and management information system; (iii) productive use of available land and social safeguarded; (iv) safeguarded and protected environment along railway corridor; (vi) strengthened institutions and management capacity.
Source: Asian Development Bank
Meanwhile, New rail line between Uzbekistan, Afghanistan to serve strategic purpose, reports Central Asia Online:
The construction of the 67km-long line is included in a memorandum of understanding to expand trade and economic opportunities that was recently signed by Uzbekistan, Afghanistan and the Asian Development Bank.
A technical team from Uzbek Railway is scheduled to arrive in Afghanistan shortly to prepare for construction. The cost of the project is estimated to be US$120 million, an amount that will provided by the Asian Development Bank. Construction is tentatively slated to begin in December.
Source: Central Asia Online, 2009-08-29