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

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