Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu led Indian Railways is going to run a trans-continental container train full of goods from Dhaka to Istanbul, which would cover a 6,000-km journey across five countries – Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey. It is codenamed as ITI-DKD-Y corridor, the route the container train will follow will be Dhaka-Kolkata-Delhi-Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul. Eventually, Yangon will also be connected to Dhaka after the missing Tamu-Kalay link in Myanmar is completed. According to Indian Express, South Asian railway heads who are involved in the project have been called by Indian Railways at a high-level meeting on March 15-16.
The good part of the project is that a long-missing link of 150 km in Zahedan (which is in the Baluchestan province of Iran) has now been completed – which has further made Trans-Asian Railway Southern Corridor good-to-go all the way to Turkey after certain operational exchange of notes and coordination between the nations concerned happens. India is anchoring that this month. Mohammad Jamshed, Railway Board Member (Traffic) said that the demonstration run will happen very soon in 2017 and they will sort out all the issues with the countries concerned. It’s a great leap for South Asian regional connectivity in the rail sector. This will also demonstrate to the world that there can be a real, commercial trans-Asian container corridor of this magnitude in the rail sector.
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The March 15-16 meeting is aimed at discussing some common technical and operational parameters between the railway systems of the countries involved. So far, in communications between the railway systems, all countries have on paper endorsed the project and have said that the demonstration is technically feasible.