December 22, 2021 – TEHRAN TIMES
TEHRAN- The Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) railway project, or ECO freight train, was inaugurated with the first freight train moving on Tuesday during a ceremony attended by Iranian and Pakistani officials.
Pakistani Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati, along with Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, and Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood inaugurated the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul freight train at Margalla railway station, in Islamabad.
Iranian Ambassador to Pakistan Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini, as well as the ambassadors of Turkey, Tajikistan and Kazakhstan to Pakistan, in addition to the representative of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) were also present at the ceremony.
Addressing the ceremony, the Pakistani minister for railways said, “Launching of the container train from Pakistan to Iran and Turkey was a long-standing dream of the countries of the region, which has come true again”.
Terming the ITI freight train an important milestone in Pakistan’s history, the minister said that business-to-business contact among the business community would further enhance through this train. He said the service would further strengthen relations between the three countries.
Also, Pakistani Foreign Minister Qureshi appreciated the resumption of ITI freight train and said the service would play an important role in regional connectivity and promoting economic activity in the region.
Adviser to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, for his part, said that ECO train as one of the most effective vehicles can help in expanding exports, imports and trade between member countries.
The length of the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul railway is 6,500 km, of which 2,570 km is in Iran, 2,000 km in Turkey and about 1,900 km in Pakistan, which takes less than half the shipping time and will also be safer and more economical as compared to road.
ITI freight train will be operated regularly on Tuesday of every week. The freight train had nine wagons initially, said a senior railway official.
As per present arrangement to start the train and the schedule agreed jointly by Turkey, Iran and Pakistan, the running time between Drence-Kapikoy (Istanbul) and Zahedan-Tabraiz (Iran) will be 90 hours each. From Zahedan to Islamabad, the train would take 135.5 hours.