News dalla rete ITA

22 Aprile 2018



Despite Iran’s strategic ambitions, routing for freight trains along its emerging transport corridors still faces a host of infrastructural and political challenges.At present, a train traveling from Western Europe to Iran will take at least 10 days. The following sections portray and compare potential routings focusing on aspects of efficiency:  A. Routes via TurkeySeveral railroads and freight train connections are connecting Western Europe to Turkey. Infrastructure has been upgraded recently, e.g. between Dimitrovgrad, Bulgaria and the Turkish border. Nonetheless, on each of the three possible entry routes to Bulgaria, lines are single-tracked and without electrification.A big issue is the greater Istanbul area: The Marmaray Tunnel is now in operation for four years. The connection to both networks (Asian and European) will be finished by 2018. This first connection of both sides via rail is basically built as commuter/subway line.Today, rail transport always includes a ferry passage through the Sea of Marmara.i. The Only Route Without Gauge Change: Istanbul-Lake Van-Tabriz (Train Ferry)This route was used by a weekly passenger train from Ankara to Tehran until it was interrupted in 2015 due to political tensions.More than 1,800 km separate Istanbul and Tatvan at the western end of Lake Van. From there, a rail ferry carries the train to Van at the eastern end of the Lake. Newly-built ferries are allowed to transport a 500-meter train (four tracks,130 meters in length each) in a single ride and one hour faster than the current ones.In January 2018, test runs of the first ferry were completed. Still in Turkey, the track heads for the border with Iran at Kapikoy, before reaching Tabriz.With the opening of the Bostanabad–Mianeh Railroad in 2018, the line to Tehran will be shortened by 114 km. The announced electrification from Tehran to Tabriz will also benefit this route.ii. Via Baku-Tbilisi-Kars and AstaraAfter several delays, the BTK Railroad was put into service by October 2017. First freight trains have been sent along the new track. The BTK is often mentioned as one of the important segments of the “New Silk Road”.  B. Routes via RussiaIn fact, routes via Russia are the shortest possible ways via rail to Iran. Compared to Turkey as a transit country, the Russian railroads are mostly flat, straight, often electrified and double-tracked. However, at least two transshipments to different cars due to the wider CIS 1,520-mm gauge are required.ii. Via Russia and INSTCThe fastest way in near term will be the usage of a combination of well-developed freight corridors in Europe and Asia. The TEN-2 corridor (Berlin-Moscow) together with the China-Europe train development is connected to the INSTC from Moscow to India. The whole length of this line will be further developed and modernized.iii. The Shortest: Via UkraineEven shorter would be a possible routing from Poland all the way through Ukraine to Rostov and further to the Caspian Sea coast. This route is the shortest possible route with just over 5,000 km. Currently, this railroad is threatened by tensions in the Donetsk region. C. Multimodal Routes via Black SeaThe Black Sea is crisscrossed with railroad ferry connections in both (1,435 mm and 1,520 mm) gauges. However, under efficiency considerations, it does not make much sense to opt for rail ferries, if the Black Sea needs to be crossed. This option would always entail a break of gauge at the European coast, thus raising transport times and costs. A more suitable solution would be the transshipment of containers only.ConclusionIf a railroad is the preferred mode of freight transport, it should be routed via Russia today and in the near future. It is the shortest way with the best infrastructure conditions and the remaining gap between Iran and Azerbaijan will be closed soon.In 2018, new ferries on Lake Van should become operational and cargo trains should be able to use the Marmaray Tunnel. Under the circumstances and if the political situation in Kurdistan allows it, a test train could be sent with European and Turkish wagons from Western Europe to Iran without leaving the 1,435-mm standard gauge.However, due to the growing number of railroad projects in and around Iran, several routes are likely to become faster and better suitable for railroad transportations in the near future. (ICE Teheran)

Fonte notizia: Financial Tribune