F May 2014

The Iranian railways; hub of the rail corridors running between Asia and Europe

The Islamic Republic of Iran lies in a strategic position between the East and West: for centuries trade routes between Asia and Europe have gone through the country and intertwine with the lesser-known but equally important routes which provide access to the sea, mainly the Persian gulf, for those regions to the north of the Caspian Sea. It is therefore no coincidence that this land, once known as Persia, is considered the cradle of civilization and that today, after the turbulent events of recent decades, it is once again becoming a crossroads of crucial importance.  In the twenty-first century many trade routes between continents are chiefly maritime, but their integration by means of adequate port facilities with land corridors, especially the railways, is vital. And here the Iranian government has a very clear, strategic vision and is creating an integrated port – railway system of prime importance. At the same time, the economic development of the country and the increased demand for internal mobility for passengers and freight is being tackled with the same attention. The result is a nation which in the next few years will build almost 10,000 km of railways, further develop its port system starting with the structures in Bandar Abbas and is set to build metro systems in 11 cities. An undertaking which of course involves having to overcome many challenges in both technological and financial terms. We spoke to the Vice Minister of Transport, Roads and Urban Development and President of Iranian Railways, Dr. Pour Seyed Aghaei who outlined the Iranian government’s strategies and current and future railway projects. Dr. Pour Seyed Aghaei, as well as having a great passion for the work, he carries out also has an in-depth knowledge of the railway sector. A university professor, he has held many important appointments, including Director of the Rail Transportation Division of the MAPNA Group, a leading Iranian industrial group, and CEO of the Raja Passenger Coach Company.

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