The much-awaited Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul (ITI) railway corridor was inaugurated in Pakistan on Tuesday, a first major move towards regional connectivity, officials said.
Pakistan’s Minister of Railways Azam Khan Swati and the country’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi inaugurated the ITI freight train service, where Ambassadors of Turkey, Iran, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan also attended the ceremony.
The ITI freight train began its journey from Islamabad railway station towards its first destination in Zahedan of Iran, from where the Turkish train will lift the goods and proceed towards Istanbul, Gulf News reported.
Amjad Ali, Director-General of the ITI Train Project, said the railway corridor is a significant step towards regional connectivity.
“This train is the cheapest mode of transportation in the world,” Ali said, adding the train has the capacity to carry a maximum of 80,000 tonnes of goods.
The three countries also have a plan to launch a passenger train on the same route in the future, the media outlet added.
The ITI railway project was first started in 2009 under the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) but remained suspended due to technical issues, the outlet added.
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