Managing Director of the Islamic Republic Railways Mohammad Saeednejad said in Tehran on Monday that operations are underway to lay 3,300 kilometers of tracks, the most important segment being the 1,000 kms Bafq-Mashhad track, IRNA reported.
Saeednejad told reporters that 500 kms railways have been laid in the country annually on average during the Third Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2000-2005).
He said Ministry of Roads and Transportation has put on agenda plans for construction of 5,000 kms railways in 20 to 25 years.
He added that Iran plans to be linked to Iraq, Syria and the Mediterranean after the completion of the project on Bafq-Mashhad track.
The official said based on current estimates Iran's railways network should undergo a six-fold increase.
He said the railway system should be developed to carry 80 million passengers and 56 million tons of cargo a year, while the figures stand at almost 15 million passengers and 26 million tons cargo at present.
He added that in the first four months of the year 10 million tons of cargo, 5.5 million passengers and 342,000 tons of transit cargos were transported, showing 17, 19 and 40 percent increases compared to the figures in the same period the previous year.
He said Iran has signed contract for the purchase of 100 locomotives from French Alestom company, 20 of which thus far handed over and 80 others would be assembled in the country and gradually marketed.
Furthermore, Saeednejad said Iran is to purchase 150 passenger wagons from China.
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