LAHORE The first freight train between Pakistan, Iran and Turkey will start operation on Aug 12.
“The Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) container train will be running between Islamabad and Istanbul through Tehran on the first Thursday of every month,” an official of the ministry of railways told Dawn on Saturday.
The first trans-country and the fourth international train to be operated by the Pakistan Railways would be leaving Istanbul and Islamabad simultaneously.
The demonstration run of the freight train from Islamabad to Istanbul through Tehran began on Aug 14 last year. It will now start its return test run from Istanbul on Aug 2 and reach Zahedan on Aug 9. Afterwards, it will operate between the three cities.
At a meeting in Tehran in March last year, the transport ministers of the three countries had finalised modalities to run a container train between the three cities.
The test run on the newly-laid track between Kerman and Zahedan was carried out. The trilateral ministerial meeting discussed the possibility to also run a passenger train on the Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul route.
“An ECO passenger train is already operating between Istanbul and Tehran and its service will shortly be extended to Ashkabad (Turkmenistan). The modalities to extend its operation to Pakistan are being considered,” the official added.
The Pakistan Railways has been operating three international passenger trains - Samjhota Express between Lahore and Amritsar, Zahedan Mixed Passenger between Quetta and Zahedan and Thar Express on Karachi-Mirpur Khas-Zero Point route.