The railway from Khaf in Iran to Herat province in Afghanistan will be inaugurated by the end of the Persian year [=March 20 2019], Iran’s Deputy Minister of Roads & Urban Development Kheirollah Khademi told local media on 19 July.
As always, reports are unclear as to exactly how much of the line will open, whether it will be opened in phases and so on. This is not the first time there have been reports that it would open by the next Persian new year.
An attempt to gather together some information on the construction phases of the Iran to Herat railway line. Has anyone got a good map of the route?
This should not be taken as definitive! Corrections would be very welcome.
Reported distances vary a bit between sources. Spellings vary a lot.
Updated with Stage 4 details 24 February 2019.
Iran – Herat railway project construction phases
| Length, km
|Khaf (Kahwaf, Khawaf, Khawaaf, Khauf, خواف) (Junction at 24 km on the Torbat-e Heydariyeh – Sangan line) – Sangan (serves mines?)
| Sangan – Myothek – Khoshbeh – Iran/Afghanistan border at Shamtiq (Shematigh, Shmtygh, شمتیغ)
|planned for October 2017?
|border at Shamtiq – Jono (Jonaw, Junaw) near the Islam Qala – Herat road to the north of Ghourian (Ghoryan, غوريان, Ghurian)
|30 km October 2017, rest January 2019
|Stage 4 Phase 1
|Jono – Robat Paryan (Rabat Pariyan)
| 43 km
|Afghanistan (supported by Italy?)
|Construction approved February 2019
|Stage 4 Phase 2
|Robat Paryan – Herat (هرات) industrial area and Airport
| c.20 km
|Afghanistan, supported by Italy?
|Construction not yet approved as of February 2019
The line is 1 435 mm (4 ft 8½ in) standard gauge, like the Iranian rail network (as well as the networks in China and most of Europe).
This is not compatible with the 1520 mm (5 ft) broad gauge used in the former USSR, including the lines crossing into Afghanistan from Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. However this is somewhat academic for the forseeable future as the lines into Afghanistan don’t connect with each other, and there are already other Turkmenistan – Iran rail routes which avoid Afghanistan altogether.
Some photos of the Khaf – Herat railway project, posted on Twitter by Ahmad Mirzad, Online News Editor at 1TV.
Railways of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Managing Director Saeed Mohammadzadeh and Afghanistan Railway Authority’s Director General Mohammad Yamma Shams signed a memorandum of understanding in Tehran on 23 July 2017 covering the Khaf – Herat railway line which is currently under construction, as well as planned further co-operation.
Mohammadzadeh reportedly said the first 30 km of the section of the line within Afghanistan is expected to be completed on 6 August 2017. The line will initially be used for freight including cement, petrol and oil, but passenger services are also envisaged for the near future. Iranian exports to Afghanistan by rail could reach five million tons/year. The rest of the part of the railway which is being built by Iran is predicted to be completed by March 2018.
Shams said AfRA had made preparations for calling tenders to appoint an Iranian company to build the final section of the route, which it is responsible for. Mohammadzadeh said RAI would also train 96 AfRA staff in Iran.
Iranian company Ballast describes itscontract for work on the Khaf – Herat railway project in an undated article on its website:
Client: Construction and Development of Transportation Infrastructure Company
Type of Contract: PC
Contract Period: 9 months
Location: Razavi Khorasan Province
The east corridor of country is a railway which begins from Chabahar port and through Dogharoun connects to Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan and China railway networks. Khaf-Sangan-Harat is a part of east corridor which is 191 km long. 2 parts of this rail lines are in Iran’s territory and 2 parts are located in Afghanistan. Considering the location of Sangan ore mine in Khaf, a major part of ore is being transported through this railway so development of railway from Khaf toward southern parts of country is considered as one of the government principle programs in this field. From international perspective since Afghanistan is a country gifted with many minerals, particularly the extension of Sangan mine, importance of using railway system as to reach to the open water highlighted. Khaf-Harat railway project, which is a single line with 76.8 km length stats from 24th km of Sangan-Torbat Heydarieh railway and from the 55th, is located along the border and at 78+800 reaches Shamtigh border point. This railway is designed based on axial load of 25 tons and 160 km/h speed.
Scope of Work
The project’s scope of work includes supply of equipment & materials, construction and installation works, laying rails.
Laying rail: approximately 90 km
Station improvement: 5
Ballast: approximately 224000m3
Sleepers: approximately 150000
Rail: approximately 11000 tons
Source: Khaf-Harat Laying Rail Project, Ballast Manufacturing & Infrastructure, Iran
There are (once again!) reports that the railway under construction between Iran and Herat will open by the next Iranian new year, that is March 2018.
Iran’s Mehr News Agency reports that Hossein Ashouri, Deputy Head of Operations at Railways of the Islamic Republic of Iran, has said the line has now been built to the Afghan border. On the Afghan side of the border the civil works are in place but the tracks still need to be laid. Of the two construction phases on the Afghan side of the border, “foundations of one is 50% through while the figure for the other is 25%”.
However the opening date for the line has long been a bit of a moving target, having been announced in previous years.
There are various news articles drawing on the same source, with assorted photographs which may or may not show the line in question – many do not.
A ceremony marks the start of tracklaying on the Afghan section of the Iran to Herat railway.
The locomotives are Islamic Repubic of Iran Railways Siemens/Mapna Iranrunnner or Safir locos.
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