Iran’s rail industry gets a fresh boost from China’s dedication of $845 million to build a train line connecting Tehran to the western cities of Hamadan and Sanandaj.
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A Wednesday report said China National Machinery Industry Corp, known as Sinomach, signed a contract worth 5.35 billion yuan with Iran which is on a railway modernization and expansion drive.
Sinomach will handle the engineering, procurement and construction work for the 410 km (255 mile) railway, the company said on its website.
Sanandaj is one of the few remaining provincial capitals in a file in Iran to link with the national railway network.
On Tuesday, President Hassan Rouhani opened a new train line which connected Kermanshah in western Iran with the national railway grid. Officials said the cities of Rasht and Urmia are next to join the network in the coming months, before Ardabil, Sanandaj and Bushehr round up the plan.
China Railway Construction in January said one of its units had won a 3.53 billion yuan contract to build the extension of the Kermanshah railway to Khosravi on the Iraqi border.
Iran plans to become a transport hub in the heart of Eurasia where regional countries have drawn up their own development strategies.
On Sunday, Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhundi said Iran needed $50 billion of investment for the modernization and expansion of its railway network in the next 10 years.
China’s flurry of investments in Iran is in line with the Asian giant’s “Belt and Road” initiative, a project aiming to build a modern-day “Silk Road” at a cost of $1 trillion.
Beijing’s biggest transportation project in Iran is worth $1.5 billion to electrify the rail line from Tehran to Mashhad for a length of 926 kilometers. The railway is part of the 3,200-kilometer New Silk Road which goes all the way to Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Urumqi in China.