Balkh railway video

A November 2010 video of the new railway in northern Afghanistan, featuring a TEM2 locomotive and a smart inspection car.

Nov 6, 2010: Abdul Qodus Naiman Hamidi, Minister of Public Works, visited the newly constructed Mazar-Hairatan railway track today here in provincial capital of Balkh.The aim of this trip is to inquire the construction works of this railway track, he said. (PAJHWOK/Zameer Saar)

Photos of the first commercial train on the Mazar-i-Sharif line

Photographs of the first commercial train to Naibabad (terminus of the new railway from Hairatan to Mazar-i-Sharif), on 3 February 2012.

All photos by David Brice.

The train was hauled by locomotive 2ТЭ10М-2337.

The train comprised nine wagons carrying flour from Kazakhstan and three wagons of Siberian timber.

There is another photo on a 7 February 2012 story from Ariana News For the first time transport of goods by rail commenced in Afghanistan: “The Naibabad port has the capacity of loading and unloading 34 trucks at a time while the local officials are looking to upgrade the capacity of that port.”

The CAREC article Hairatan-Mazar-e-Sharif railway opens, highlights country-to-country cooperation has a photo of an inaugural train arriving at the “newly built Naibabad Station in the city of Mazar-e-Sharif” on 21 December 2011. “Although the seven-carriage train carried no cargo, it brought great opportunity for increased trade and cooperation between Afghanistan and its neighbors in Central Asia”.

First commercial freight train on Mazar-i-Sharif railway

Celebrations were held at Naibabad freight terminal at 12.00 on February 3, when ‘a substantial reception party’ greeted the arrival of the first train carrying commercial traffic on the 75 km rail link between Hairatan and Mazar-i-Sharif. [more…]
Source: Afghan railway starts commercial traffic, Railway Gazette International, 3 February 2012

The train was hauled by locomotive 2ТЭ10М-2337, and comprised nine wagons carrying flour from Kazakhstan and three wagons of Siberian timber.

Test train runs to Mazar-i-Sharif

It seems a test train ran on the Hairaton to Mazar-i-Sharif railway line on 21 December 2011.

  • There are lots of media reports using “Afghanistan opening first major train service“, an Associated Press report by Kay Johnson and Rahim Faiez.
  • The BBC reports the “seven-carriage train” ran empty:

    The first journey on Wednesday was intended to test the track and signals, before the formal opening of the project at which President Hamid Karzai is expected to attend.

    “This is a matter of pride for us and a very important issue for Afghanistan,” said Deputy Public Works Minister Noor Gul Mangal, who was there to watch the train arrive in Mazar-e-Sharif.

    He said the government planned to build another line into Turkmenistan, to the north-west.
    Afghan railway: First train runs on new line in north BBC News, 21 December 2011

  • The Financial Times says it was to carry wheat, and has a round-up of Afghan rail projects:

    Locomotives had conducted test runs on the new line but would haul their first commercial cargo on Wednesday in the form of a wheat shipment belonging to the World Food Programme, the UN relief agency, said an ADB official in Kabul.
    Afghan rail plan to boost mineral exports, Matthew Green, Islamabad, Financial Times, 20 December 2011