Second Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad train on its way: the service might have a future
After commencing on 21 December, the Istanbul-Tehran-Islamabad corridor dispatched a second train on 29 December. The train is currently transiting via Iran, carrying 24 covered wagons from Pakistan with 524 tons of Talc powder.
The second ITI train that departed just eight days after the first one brings hope to the much-tainted corridor. Crossed the Pakistan-Iran border at the Mirjaveh border crossing while transhipment procedures took place at Iran’s Zahedan station. From Iran, the train will enter Turkey through the Razi border crossing.
Iran’s Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that the train runs under the CIM Uniform Rules, which govern the international carriage of freight by rail in member states of the Intergovernmental Organisation for International Carriage by Rail (OTIF). All three countries are members of the organisation.
Departure after a year
The service’s launch was dubious, as it was announced several times last year and cancelled last minute. The last time it was supposed to depart was on 4 March, but it was also postponed. The Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) railway train finally departed in western direction on Tuesday 21 December. After many failed attempts to resume this rail freight service connecting Pakistan, Iran and Turkey, it now seems that the train is on track.
The departure was celebrated with a ceremony attended by senior officials of the Pakistani railway and the ministry of commerce, the ambassadors of Iran and Turkey, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, and a representative of the Organization for Economic Cooperation (ECO). Pakistani railways minister Azam Khan Swati said that the start of the container train move from Pakistan to Iran and Turkey was an old dream of the countries of the region, which has come true again.