Azerbaijan upgrades railways to connect Russia and India

Source: Azerbaijan RailwaysAzerbaijan Railways

Azerbaijan is reconstructing an important part of its railway line that lies on the International North-South Transport Corridor. The works are upgrading the Sumgayit-Yalama railway line. Following the opening of a 23-kilometer section in late February, the remaining 31.4-kilometer will soon be operational too.

The Sumgayit-Yarama railway line is a double track line, which means that only one track is closed during the works while the other remains open for rail traffic. Azerbaijan Railways said that with the completion of the remaining 31.4 km section, the reconstruction of the first track will be completed, and then the reconstruction of the second track will begin.

Why is this line important?

The Sumgayit-Yarama railway line is part of the International North-South Transport Corridor, which runs through Azerbaijan and connects India and Russia. This corridor has a lot of potential as an alternative to the sea shipping route via the Suez Canal. Cargo can be shipped between India and Iran and then moved overland.

In addition to this, the railway line is important for connecting Sumgayit and Yalama, both located near the Caspian Sea and the Abheron peninsula, where Baku is located. Baku is the main Azerbaijani port on the international railway network.

International North-South Transport Corridor

Reconstruction works

The Sumgayit-Yarama railway reconstruction project is a joint project of the Government of Azerbaijan, the Asian Development Bank and the French Development Agency. Reconstruction works began on 18 February 2020 as part of the construction of the North-South International Transport Corridor. Design, construction and work supervision were undertaken by a joint venture in Turkey, Kazakhstan and Germany.

Works included the removal of 87km of old track, the excavation of sub-ballast and ballast material, and the laying of new sub-ballast material. So far, the first 70.5 kilometers of the line have been successfully laid with the first layer of ballast material, while the first 65 kilometers have all the ballast layers and new track. In addition, the project also includes the construction of 37 bridges, 81 circulating water pipes and 7 animal passages.

This article was originally published on, our Chinese sister publication.

Author: Steven Don

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