Reconstruction in Azerbaijan’s North-South corridor section in full steam

The reconstruction of the Sumqayit-Yalama railway line in Azerbaijan is proceeding at a quick pace. After the first 23 kilometres that were inaugurated with a train in late February, another 31,4 kilometres covering the section between Sumgayit-Sitalchay were made available for operations.

The Sumqayit-Yalama railway line runs in both directions, and while constructions take place, one track is closed, and the other remains open to serve rail traffic. With the completion of the 31,4 kilometres section between Sumgayit-Sitalchay, the reconstruction of the first track is over, and works will proceed to the second one, said Azerbaijan Railways.

Why is this line important, though? First of all, it is part of the International North-South Transport Corridor, which passes through Azerbaijan. It connects the region of Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, with the country’s northern border with Russia, and apart from the North-South transport corridor, the railway line is essential for the connectivity of the Abheron peninsula where Sumqayiand Baku are is positioned.

One of the first trains running on the Sumgayit-Yalama railway line. Source: Azerbaijan Railways

Reconstruction works

The Sumgayit-Yalama railway reconstruction project is a joint project between the Government of Azerbaijan, the Asian Development Bank, and the French Development Agency. Reconstruction work began on February 18, 2020, as part of measures taken to implement the North-South international transport corridor. Design, construction and work supervision are carried out by joint ventures from Turkey, Kazakhstan and Germany.

The works included the demolition of 87 kilometres of tracks, excavation of sub-ballast and ballast material and laying of new sub-ballast material. So far, the first 70,5 kilometres of the line have acquired the first layer of ballast material, while the first 65 kilometres already have all ballast layers and new tracks. In addition to these, works included the construction of 37 bridges, 81 circular water pipes and seven animal crossings.

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Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is editor of RailFreight.com, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

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