Another photograph of one of the Henschel steam locomotives on the Kabul – Darulaman railway has been found, in the book “Джанг: Восстание в Афганистане” (War: Uprising in Afghanistan) by journalist Евгений Шуан (Yevgeniy Shuan) which was published in Leningrad in 1930.
AFGHANISTAN’S ONLY STEAM TRAIN (RUNS BETWEEN KABUL AND DAR-UL-AMAN).
The picture was spotted by Markus Hauser, who alerted me to it. His full thread is worth a read, with a lot of interesting pictures of 1920s Afghanistan from the book.
Latest additions to The Pamir Archive:
Евгений Шуан Джанг: Восстание в Афганистане [Ленинград]: Прибой, 1930. – 246,  с.: ил., портр.
-> Another rare and interesting account of Afghanistan by the only European journalist in Afghanistan in 1929.
The BBC’s Middle East correspondent tweets a picture of the coal mine at Karkar, with the narrow gauge railway just visible; ignore the text about the “soviet field gun artillery piece gun” in the tweet, that is part of joke thread about the media calling any armoured vehicle a tank.
Tehran, Jan 19, IRNA – Iranian Minister of Road and Urban Development Mohammad Eslami referred to sustainable development as Iran’s strategy in the region, saying Iran is ready to connect Khaf-Herat railway to Mazar-i-Sharif in Afghanistan.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of training Afghanistan railway staff, Eslami said Iran’s development is intertwined with that of its neighbors.
The railway extension from Aqina on the border with Turkmenmenistan to the northern Afghan town of Andkhoy was inaugurated with a ceremony on 14 January 2021. Afghanistan’s President Ghani and Turkmenistan’s President Berdimuhamedov took part via video link.
Interestingly, Berdimuhamedov said Turkmenistan and Afghanistan were implementing the construction of a 173 km line from Towraghondi to Herat. 1
The Aqina – Andkhoy line is an extension of the 88 km line from Kerki (Atamyrat) in Turkmenistan to the Ymamnazar border crossing (85 km) and Afghanistan’s customs facilities at Aqina (3 km) which was opened on 28 November 2016.
The extension is generally reported to be 30 km long, including of 24 km of main line and 6 km of sidings at Andkhoy. The project required and various small bridges, level crossings and a parallel road. Construction was officially launched on July 26 2019, at the same time as expanded rail facilities at Aqina were inaugurated.
The Chairman of Türkmendemirýollary Agency and Head of Railroad route department of Afghanistan have reported on the readiness to put Akina – Andhoy railroad into operation.
It was noted that this railway would allow activating trade between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. According to analysis made by railroad department of Afghanistan, it is expected that volume of cargo traffic would increase by 20 percent in the first year and by 50 percent in the second year of operation of the railway. The delivery of cargo will also be increased and new work places will be opened.
It is worth to mention that current construction is a part of major transport project initiated by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, which to connect the countries of the region with further entry to railway network of China.
Turkmenistan has built new railroad on Afghan territory not only at own expenses but also using its own personnel and material resources like engineers, workers, railroad construction equipment and cranes, construction materials, assembled rails and sleepers, etc.
In addition to laying the rails, reserve and side lines, container terminals and other auxiliary facilities have been built on 30-km route. All project works were made by the Türkmendemirýoltaslama Construction and Research Institute of the Türkmendemirýollary Agency.
Turkmen specialists have design and built disinfection barriers, which are to provide sanitary safety of international cargo traffic, which is very important on the background of the pandemic conditions in the world these days.
In addition, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan have started realization of another transport project – the construction of Turgundy – Herat railroad, which length is 173 kilometers. It is planned to build four railway stations, communication and announcement system and platform along this route.
The opening celebrations for the extension included the departure of the first train to Andkhoy, which was formed of 10 tank cars carrying fuel, seven wagons carrying mineral fertiliser and three wagons loaded with agricultural products.
President Ghani said the inauguration of the railway along with electric power and fibre optic links between the two countries was a ‘significant step towards further deepening relations and translating an important part of our regional connectivity vision into reality.’
He said it was ‘a matter of immense pride that Afghanistan is renewing its long-standing relations with Central Asian countries after more than 100 years of isolation. The bonds of friendship forged between Afghanistan and Turkmenistan are valuable for the two governments and nations.’
Ghani said ‘Afghanistan’s location as a roundabout that links Central Asia with south, east and west Asia as well as implementation of significant economic and infrastructural projects, including recently the Khaf – Herat railway, proves that our vision of connectivity is not an improbable dream but an undeniable reality’.
Berdimuhamedov emphasised that ‘such projects will provide strong support to the Afghan economy and will also affect the country’s industry’.
President Ashraf Ghani: The inauguration of the Aqeena-Andkhoy railway and other infrastructural projects between the two countries are significant steps towards further deepening these relations and translating an important part of our regional connectivity vision into reality. pic.twitter.com/yQ3xVskH4P
At the end of the ceremony, ‘the Turkmen and Afghan railway workers who worked hard on the construction of the facility were presented with valuable gifts on behalf of the President of Turkmenistan.’2
Today, on the 14th of January 2021, the opening ceremony of 30 km long railway between Aqina and Andkhoy stations and the commissioning of the international fiber-optic communication system and transit flows from Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan) to Aqina (Afghanistan) and from Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) to Torghundi (Afghanistan), as well as the power transmission line from Turkmen city of Kerki to Afghan city of Sheberghan was held in participation of the Presidents of Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.
After announcing the ceremony opened, the moderator of the event asked the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to make a speech. For this, a teleconference was established.
First, the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov addressed to the audience. His speech was listened by the participants of the event present in the “Rukhiyet” Palace of the Lebap region. The participants of the ceremony in Afghanistan, as well as in the Mary region observed the event via teleconference.
In his speech, the President of Turkmenistan said that “all three projects that have been completed in short time are united by a common meaning and goal – to give strong impulse and ensure long-term development of our countries, well-being and prosperity of Turkmen and Afghan people, assist expanded international cooperation, mutual understanding, political and social stability.” He also noted that the implementation of given projects was the result of multiyear close and constrictive Turkmen-Afghan cooperation.
Then, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani who was watching the ceremony in the Presidential Palace of Kabul addressed the audience. Warmly welcoming the participants, he noted that these events have special meaning for Afghanistan and his people. Speaking about the origins of the given projects, the head of Afghanistan highlighted their importance not only from the perspective of socio-economic reestablishment of the country, but also from the prospect of regional economic integration. The head of Afghanistan expressed gratitude to the leadership of Turkmenistan for fraternal support and care about the close neighbor. He noted that Turkmenistan unites not only the countries of the region, but also of the whole world. The participants of the event listened to the address of the President Ashraf Ghani through a teleconference.
Then, the heads of railway transport, energy and communication sectors of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan made speeches. They told about the outstanding work done on the part of Turkmenistan and Afghanistan for the implementation of current infrastructures and informed about the readiness to the commissioning of railway between Aqina and Andkhoy stations, international fiber-optic communication system and transit flows from Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan) to Aqina (Afghanistan) and from Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) to Torghundi (Afghanistan), as well as the power transmission line from Turkmen city of Kerki to Afghan city of Sheberghan.
Upon the completion of these speeches, the moderators of the ceremony asked the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and the President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani to give their blessings for the commissioning of the given facilities.
Thus, the participants of the ceremony saw through a teleconference how the railway carriage consisting of 20 loaded cars left from the Aqina station to Andkhoy city in festive setting.
Besides, the commissioning of the power transmission line from Kerki to Sheberghan took place through the use of special equipment. The participants of the event observed the transmission of electricity through the line that was shown on the screen by a technological imitation model.
Also, the participants of the ceremony watched the video presentation of the commissioning of the international fiber-optic communication system and transit flows from Ymamnazar (Turkmenistan) to Aqina (Afghanistan) and Serhetabat (Turkmenistan) to Torghundi (Afghanistan).
Upon the completion of the ceremony, gratitude was expressed to the Presidents of Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan for participation in the event.
On January 14, 2021, the inauguration of the 30-kilometer railway section between the Aqina-Andkhoy stations of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan took place.
The event was attended by the heads of Turkmenistan and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, members of governments, heads and representatives of a number of ministries and departments of the two countries, public organizations.
The Chairman of the Agency “Türkmendemirýollary” (Turkmen Railways) A. Atamuradov and the head of the Afghan Railway Authority Mohammad Yamma Shams informed the ceremony participants about the construction work.
In his speech, A. Atamuradov noted that the Aqina-Andkhoy railway branch connected with the railway system of Turkmenistan is the part of the Asian International Railway Transport Corridor and is intended to become one of the key links of the Lapis-Lazuli corridor. He spoke about the well-coordinated work of the Turkmen and Afghan railway workers who worked hard on the implementation of this project. It was noted that this and other routes initiated by the head of state contribute to building up the transport and transit potential of both Turkmenistan and the entire region, contributing to the strengthening of fruitful trade and economic cooperation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the head of the Afghan Railway Authority Mohammad Yamma Shams noted the high level of Turkmen-Afghan cooperation in the field of transport. Yamma Shams expressed gratitude to the President of Turkmenistan for assistance in the implementation of this project. He noted that the efficiency of this railway will continue to grow, creating new jobs and expanding the transport and transit potential of Afghanistan. Thus, the Aqina-Andkhoy railway line will open up new opportunities for the development of the Afghan economy and the revitalization of its small and medium-sized businesses.
During the ceremony, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Mohammad Ashraf Ghani gave their blessing for the commissioning of the Aqina-Andkhoy railway line.
The opening of this railway branch was marked by the solemn dispatch from the Aqina station towards the city of Andkhoy of a train consisting of 20 cars loaded with export products from Turkmenistan.
At the end of the ceremony, the Turkmen and Afghan railway workers who worked hard on the construction of the facility were presented with valuable gifts on behalf of the President of Turkmenistan.
It is important to note that the Memorandum of Understanding on the construction of the Aqina-Andkhoy railway between the “Türkmendemirýollary” Agency of the Ministry of Industry and Communication of Turkmenistan and the Afghan Railway Authority was signed following the results of high-level bilateral talks held in Ashgabat in February 2019.
(Google translation of the caption)
Construction of the Aqina-Andkhoy railway has been completed and will be inaugurated by Afghan and Turkmen officials in the near future. Agineh-Andkhoy railway is 30 km long.
The Railway Authority says the construction of the Aqina-Andkhoy railway has cost $30 million, which has been covered by the department’s development budget.
The construction project of Aqineh-Andkhoy railway includes a railway station, a connecting road, a loading and unloading place, a freight car station and a wall.
پروژه خط آهن آقینه – اندخوی 31 کیلومتر طول دارد و قرار است تا چند ماه دیگر کارهای باقیمانده آن تکمیل و به بهرهبرداری سپرده شود. پروسههای سروی و دیتیلدیزان آن، در او اخر سال گذشته به اتمام رسید و کار ساختمانی آن، از آغاز سال جاری میلادی شروع شده است. pic.twitter.com/PA3Lv8K4E2
Attendees included the Governor of Herat, various officials and elders.
A plaque mentions Integra Construction KZ, a Kazakh railway contractor which signed a contract to build this Section 4 Phase 1 of the line on 12 December 2019. The 43 km Phase 1 was to be be built in 16 months at cost of US$58.5m, funded by the government of Afghanistan. It will pass through the Ghorian, Zenda Jan and Enjeel districts and to reach Rabat Paryan.2
Italy will provide a long-term loan to finance the future Stage 4 Phase 2, which will add a further 44 km and take the line to Herat airport.
Afghanistan Railway Authority post on Facebook, 12:35 on 10 December 2020 ↩
The railway from Khaf in Iran to Rozanak in Afghanistan was officially inaugurated on 10 December 2020. Afghanistan’s President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani and Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani participated in the celebrations by video conference rather than in person, because of the coronavirus pandemic.
‘I welcome the opening of this vital project as an important step towards recovery and development in both countries’, said President Ghani, adding that the railway would be the most efficient, useful and cheapest means of transport. Ghani said the project was the result of ‘tireless efforts’ by Afghanistan and Iran to improve regional connectivity and economic prosperity, and the efforts of officials, engineers, workers and other stakeholders.
He noted that Afghanistan had not been part of the ‘transport revolution’ which railways had brought much of the world. While there had been plans to develop railways under King Amanullah in the 1920s and President Daoud Khan in the 1970s, no major projects got underway until after the 2004 Berlin Conference on Afghanistan where the importance of railways for the economic future of Afghanistan and the region was stressed.
‘Our vision is for Afghanistan to regain its central position on the Silk and Lapis Lazuli roads and to invest in trade development’, said Ghani.
افتتاحیه خط آهن #خواف_هرات شبکه وصل افغانستان به بندرهای آبی و شبکه خط آهن ایران، ترکیه و اروپا — د خواف-هرات د ریل پټلۍ پرانیسته د اوبو له بندرونو سره د افغانستان نښلونکې شبکه او د ایران، ترکیې او اروپا د اوسپنې پټلۍ شبکه pic.twitter.com/HOydKrzCFH
Iran’s President Rouhani said the opening was ‘a day of peace and blessing’ for ‘two nations from the same roots, history, culture’, which had ‘maintained their brotherhood and neighbourhood as each other’s best companions.’ He said ‘our connection has always been through our common hearts, thoughts, cultures, behaviours and efforts, and today the railway strengthens this connection.’
Khaf-Herat Railway inaugurated at order of Iran, Afghanistan Presidents
In the 36th week of the inauguration of the national and infrastructure projects throughout the country with the slogan of “Prudence and Hope for Surge in Production”, parts one, two and three of the Khaf-Herat railway were inaugurated and put into operation at order of the Presidents of Iran and Afghanistan
The construction of parts one, two and three of the Khaf-Herat railway, with a length of 140 km, has cost 1.8 trillion tomans.
Khaf-Herat railway is 225 km long and its operation is carried out in 4 sections.
Parts one and two are 78 km long in Iran and from Khaf city to the border in Khorasan Razavi province. Parts three and four of the railway are 147 km long in the Afghanistan soil from the border to Rozanak 62 km and from Rozanak to Herat 85 km, of which 140 km was put into operation today.
Development and strengthening of economic, social and cultural relations between Iran and Afghanistan by facilitating the export and import of goods and transport of passengers between the two countries, proper rail access of Afghanistan through the Islamic Republic of Iran to other international areas including the southern open waters, Caucasus, Turkey, Iraq and Europe are among the goals of this national plan.
Presidents of Iran and Afghanistan at the inauguration ceremony of Khaf-Herat Railway
Linking Khaf-Herat Railway a valuable step towards further strengthening ties, cooperation between Iran and Afghanistan
The Presidents of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Afghanistan described the railway connection between the two countries as a valuable step towards further strengthening ties and cooperation between the two nations and the two governments of Iran and Afghanistan and stressed that today will be remembered in the history of the relations between the two great Iranian and Afghan nations.
Speaking on Thursday at the inauguration ceremony of the Khaf-Herat Railway, Dr Hassan Rouhani and Mr Ashraf Ghani said that the opening of this historic project will be an important step in reviving and a leap in the cooperation between the two countries.
Addressing the “Dear People of Afghanistan”, Dr Rouhani said, “Today is a day of peace and blessing for the two great nations of Afghanistan and Iran; two nations from the same roots, history, culture and from the same region throughout history, who have maintained their brotherhood and neighbourhood as each other’s best companions”.
“Our connection has always been through our common hearts, thoughts, cultures, behaviours and efforts, and today the railroad strengthens this connection,” the president said.
Stating that today is a happy and unforgettable day for the two nations of Iran and Afghanistan, Dr Rouhani said, “I wished that this ceremony could be held in person, but due to health instructions related to coronavirus, we had to hold a video conference”.
At the ceremony, the President of Afghanistan described the operation of the historic and vital Khaf-Herat railway project as the result of the tireless efforts of both countries in connecting the region and achieving future economic prosperity and said, “I wished to inaugurate this great project in person, but the limitations caused by coronavirus led us to inaugurate this vital project through video conferencing”.
Mr Ashraf Ghani stated, “Completion of this important project, despite the limitations caused by the spread of coronavirus, is a clear sign of the national will of both countries and the product of the efforts of engineers, workers and all people involved of this important project”.
He added, “The inauguration of this historic project will undoubtedly be an important step towards a leap in economic cooperation between the two countries”.
In case you were wondering, the Iranian Railways Prima diesel locomotive is indeed part of the same Alstom family as the UK’s Class 67 locos. Other related types are found in Syria, Israel and Sri Lanka (Photo: AfRA)