Iran-Armenia Railway Line meeting held

127751YEREVAN, May 29: The talks over constructing Iran-Armenia railway are still underway, said Tuesday Vladimir Yakunin, President of Russian Railways OJSC.

“I can speak only about our stance. If the political decision is made, and the railway is to be constructed, another political decision on funding should be also made. These talks are going on,” he said in Gyumri at the opening of locomotive and wagon-repair depot.

He noted in order to construct a railway, it is necessary to clearly define its freight capacity.

“But we are responsible for determining the freight capacity. As of now we don’t see such capacity, but it doesn’t mean that the project is rejected, forgotten and won’t be implemented,” he said.

The president also clarified, the company is interested in opening new routes. Particularly, the company is very interested in the position of Georgia related to re-opening the railway between Russia and Georgia through Abkhazia, and farther to Armenia.

“May be it will open new opportunities,” he noted.

North-South railway connects Armenia with Iran which will allow to use alternative ways of transportation of energy resources and other goods. Currently railway communications of Armenia with foreign countries is provided only through the territory of Georgia.

In November 2011, former Armenian transport and communications minister Manuk Vardanyan said the project is ready, and a group of experts headed by deputy transport minister of Armenia, Iran and Russia, is working on it.

According to the experts, the project total budget will stand at 1.7-2.8 billion dollars. The project is currently discussed by Russia, Iran and China. The interest was also shown by the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

South Caucasus Railways, a 100-percent subsidiary of Russian Railways, runs Armenian Railway.

Armenian Railways was handed over to the South Caucasus Railways on February 13, 2008 for 30-year concession management with a right to prolong the management term for other 10 years.