Khaf to Herat province railway officially opened

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.

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.

Source: Official website of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 10 December 2020

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”.

Source: Official website of the President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, 10 December 2020

Iranian Railways Prima diesel locomotive

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)

Test train carries officials from Iran to Afghanistan

A test train has carried officials from Iran and Afghanistan on the 62 km third section of the railway under construction from Khaf in Iran to Afghanistan’s Herat province.1

The train on 28 October 2020 comprised MAPNA/Siemens Safir/Iranrunner diesel locomotive2 number 1540 and two coaches. It ran from Iran as far as Rosank(?) station in Herat province, returning to Iran again in the evening.

Officials from bth countries inspected the line, stations and other installations on the line, which forms the third section of the long-running Khaf – Herat railway project and is expected to be officially opened in the near future.3

The Afghanistan Railway Authority said the new railway would provide the country with access to Iran’s railway network and sea ports, as well as to the railway networks of Turkey and Europe. This would enable Afghanistan merchants to export goods quickly, safely and at a low cost.

(Photos: Afghanistan Railway Authority)

  1. Afghanistan Railway Authority Facebook post, 28 October 2020
  2. See Manufacture of 150 Diesel-Electric Locomotives, MAPNA
  3. Afghanistan Railway Authority Facebook post, 28 October 2020

Khaf – Herat railway photos

And confirmation of Italian funding for the fourth phase:

Khaf – Herat railway Stage 4 Phase 1 approved

Afghanistan’s National Procurement Commission has approved the Phase 1 of Stage 4 of the railway being built from Khaf in Iran to Herat province in Afghanistan. Here is my attempt to identify the Khaf – Herat railway construction stages.

National Procurement Commission in a session dated Feb 18, 2019 approved the design and construction of 43 km of phase 1 of Part 4 of Khawaf-Herat railway from Ghoryan district to Rabat Paryan. This project will be constructed by a Kazakhstani Company from development budget of Afghan Government.

Khawaf-Herat railway comprised from 4 parts with total length of 225 km. The 1st and 2nd parts with length of 76 km completed recently in the territory of Iran and the 3rd part, from the border to Ghoryan district is being constructing with the length of 62 km, will be completed soon for operation.

Khawaf-Herat railway has high economic and transportation importance and by completion and exploitation of it Afghanistan could connect through Iran’s railway to southern borders of Iran and Turkey railway network.

Source: Design and Construction Phase 1 of Part 4 of Khwaf – Herat Railway Approves, Afghanistan Railway Authority, 19 February 2019

Third phase of Khaf to Herat railway complete

Local officials in western Herat province on Tuesday [8 January 2019] said that the third phase of Khawaf-Herat railroad has been completed and that the project will be inaugurated in the near future.

The fourth phase of the project will be implemented soon too, said officials.


Source: Third Phase Of Khawaf-Herat Railroad To Be Launched, Nasir Salehi, Tolo News, 8 January 2019

Iran-Afghanistan railway to be launched by March 2019

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.1

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.


Khaf – Herat railway contractor

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

Project Outline
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.

Key Statistics

Laying rail: approximately 90 km
Station improvement: 5
Turnout: 54
Ballast: approximately 224000m3
Sleepers: approximately 150000
Rail: approximately 11000 tons

Source: Khaf-Harat Laying Rail Project, Ballast Manufacturing & Infrastructure, Iran