8/26/2009

First train on Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul railway arrives in Turkey

AA - A freight train, which departed from the Pakistani city of Islamabad to test the newly established 6,500-km railway between Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, arrived in the eastern Anatolian province of Van on Tuesday. The railway line, recently constructed between Islamabad, Tehran and Istanbul, aims to connect the members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) to each other. The first freight train that travelled on the railway departed from Pakistan on August 14 for the Iranian capital of Tehran and then proceeded to Turkey. A number of Turkish, Iranian and Pakistani railway officials were on the train that arrived in Van's Saray town early on Tuesday. Commenting on the train's arrival, Muhammed Atilcan from the Turkish Railways (TCDD) said the new railway connected Pakistan to Europe via Iran and Turkey. Atilcan also said the train journey from Islamabad to Istanbul took around 13 days, while travelling from the European countries to Pakistan via seaway takes almost 40-45 days. The Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul railway project aims to boost economic cooperation between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey in the first instance and then with the other ECO member countries.