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Plans for Belarusian Facility to Service Railway Rolling Stock in Turkmenistan

Saturday 28 March 2015, by Babak KHANDANI

MINSK (BelTA) – Belarus intends to set up a railway facility in Turkmenistan to service rolling stock, BelTA learned from Chairman of the Council of the Republic of the National Assembly of Belarus Mikhail Myasnikovich, who is in Turkmenistan on 24-28 March on a working visit.

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Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan rail link inauguration
Finance for the $1.4 bln project has come from a variety of sources, with the Islamic Development Bank, Saudi Fund for Development, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and the Asian Development Bank contributing to the Turkmen section.

Mikhail Myasnikovich said: “It is advisable to set up a major universal railway car depot that would assemble railway components, aggregates, equipment and would also have a serious repair capability. The components could be supplied by Belarus.”

Cooperation in the sphere of transport was discussed during the meeting of Mikhail Myasnikovich and Turkmenistan President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov. In particular, the head of state said that old Iranian tunnels (see below) cannot handle modern railway cars due to their size. According to Mikhail Myasnikovich, Belarus could make special cars, tank cars, and mineral wagons while Turkmenistan is ready to buy them.

Documents on cooperation between Belarus and Turkmenistan are supposed to be ready this year. The deliveries may begin next year, concluded Mikhail Myasnikovich.

While in Turkmenistan the head of the upper chamber of the Belarus parliament also met with Chairwoman of the Turkmenistan parliament Akdzha Nurberdyyeva, Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers Batyr Ereshov, and other officials. Mikhail Myasnikovich visited the construction sites of the Garlyk mining and processing factory and the Belarusian vehicle service centre as well as the Belarusian-Turkmen Trading House.

Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan rail link

The final link in the north-south railway corridor connecting Iran, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan was officially inaugurated on December 3, 2014. The celebrations at Incheh Borun on the border between Turkmenistan and Iran marked the completion of the Turkmen section of the 925 km Uzen-Serhetyaka-Bereket-Etrek-Gorgan corridor, which includes 140 km in Kazakhstan and 85 km in Iran. Agreed in 2007 and under construction since 2009, the route opens up a direct rail connection between the three countries to the east of the Caspian Sea. Most of the route is 1,520 mm gauge, with a break of gauge at the Iranian border.

Around 600 km shorter than the more easterly route through Sarakhs, the new line is expected to carry transit traffic between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf, as well as oil and agricultural produce; large quantities of Kazakh grain are exported to Iran each year. Completion of the line will boost rail traffic between the three countries from 3 mln tonnes a year to 10 mln, with the figure expected to reach 20 mln tonnes by 2020.

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