Kandahar rail plan revived Victorian idea

Afghanistan Railways: a dream coming true is an October 2004 article by S Azam Ali for the Pakistani newspaper Dawn. Availing of the second Afghan-British War, Russians stitched the great deserts of Central Asia with rail tracks. When the British came to know of the Russian success in the occupation of Marv in 1883, they reviewed and revived the Kandhar State Railway extension from Sibi to Quetta and Chaman.

A dream of the Kandhar Railway in the middle of the 19th century seems to be realized in the 21st century with the change of political scenario from the conflict to cooperation in this most sensitive region. This has become possible with practical move for the regional connectivity project to be undertaken jointly by Afghanistan and Pakistan for railway from Chaman (Pakistan) to Kandhar (Afghanistan) as one of the components of a compact and comprehensive rail road mega programme for 10-member countries in the ECO region.

Announcing a Rs3 billion package for Balochistan, through which the Pakistan Railways would penetrate into Afghanistan via Chaman-Kandhar rail route, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz added that paper work on the track had been completed. Work on it would begin soon. It would usher in, a new era for economic cooperation between Pakistan, Afghanistan and eight other ECO-member countries in the field of train traffic for the region sprawling over an area of more than seven million sq kms.
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Source: Dawn

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