Presidents open Turkmenistan – Afghanistan railway

The railway from Atamyrat in Turkmenistan to the Ymamnazar border crossing point (85 km) and Afghanistan’s customs facilities at Akina (3 km) was officially opened on 28 November 2016 by Turkmenistan’s President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani.1

The first freight train on the new line comprised 46 wagons carrying flour, grain, cement, carbamide, urea and sulphur.2 3

Construction of the line had been launched by the presidents of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan with an elaborate ceremony in Atamyrat on 5 June 2013, and a ceremony at Akina on 30 October 2016 marked the laying of the final rails.

A planned continuation of the line would extend it 35 km to Andkhoy, the first significant town in Afghanistan. The line also forms the first section of the proposed TAT Railway corridor from Turkmenistan via northern Afghanistan to Tajikistan.

The new line is the second cross-border railway between Turkmenistan and Afghanistan, after the short Soviet-built line to a freight terminal at Towraghondi, north of Herat.


Photo of the Atamurat – Aqina railway?

The Khaama Press story Lazuli railway network to link Afghanistan to Europe and China soon published on 19 October 2016 has a photo which might be of the new railway from Atamurat in Turkmenistan to the Afghan border and Aqina. If so, this is only the second time I have seen photos of the line.

President Berdimuhamedov inspects construction of TAT railway

Map of the Turkmenistan - Afghanistan - Tajikistan railway project

President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov reviewed the construction of the Turkmenistan – Afghanistan – Tajikistan railway during a working visit to Lebap velayat, Turkmenistan: the Golden Age reports.1

He travelled from Turkmenabat Airport by helicopter to Ymamnazar (or Immamnazar, or various other spellings), “where construction of Atamyrat – Ymamnazar – Akina – Andhoy steel line undergoes at full pace”. At Ymamnazar received reports about the customs facilities which handle Around 250 – 300 trucks per day, then visted an hydrocarbon terminal where “construction is at the final stage”. The terminal includes a “Railway loading rack for hydrocarbons”.

He then went to the future Ymamnazar station. As of the date of the visit, 85 km of earthworks had been built on the Atamyrat – Ymamnazar line, 82.2 km “filled with sand and gravel mixture”, 82 km of rails had been laid and a road parallel to the railway had been prepared. The earthworks on the Afghan sectioon of the railway to Akinoy “is prepared”, and construction works at two Gulistan and Ymamnazar stations “are at the final stages”.

“This railway is summoned to become the road of friendship and cooperation of the countries of the region and reliable transport main. Realization of this project, besides economic benefits, will open wide opportunities for integration of participating countries into the international economy at equal partnership.”
Turkmenistan: the Golden Age

Deputy Chairman of Cabinet of Ministers S Satlykov and Minister of Transport B Annameredov provided the president with information about the railway project. The President “expressed his interest in rates and quality of construction works at other parts of the railway”, and “emphasized that deadline for putting into operation of the railway are important requirements for construction of this complex engineering and technical infrastructure”.

During his return flight to Turkmenabat the President saw the work underway on two bridges on the Atamyrat – Ymamnazar – Akina railway. These bridges are 5 m wide, with the bridge at the 15 Years of Independence lake being 256m long and the bridge over the Karakum River being 363 m long. Construction of the reinforced concrete piers has been completed, and temporary piers and metalwork are being installed.

“Successful realization of the construction project of this strategic transport corridor will provide not only further steadfast social and economic development of Lebap region but the whole Turkmenistan as well. As it was mentioned above, the right bank of the Amudarya River has unique deposits of natural reserves. Establishment of reliable railway connection will serve as key factor of rapid development of this countless treasury.”
Turkmenistan: the Golden Age

I can’t seem to find any photos of this presidential trip, but I suspect there might be some out there somewhere – do let me know if you spot any!