The Anonymous Widower

Georgia, Azerbaijan and Iran Discuss New Freight Corridor To link India And Europe

The title of this post is the same as that of an article on Global Rail News.

The article doesn’t say much, except that currently it takes between thirty and forty days for freight to get between India and Europe.

The New Silk Road

In How To Move 100,000 Containers A Year Between Germany And China, I talked about a plan by Deutsche Bahn and Georgian Railways to create a  New Silk Road. This map shows the route.

Note how the route of the New Silk Road could go South of the Caspian Sea, which means it would pass through Iran.

In the earlier post, I said this about the New Silk Road.

If you read the Wikipedia entry for Georgian Railways, it does list a few problems, but it would appear that the route across Georgia is being upgraded to Standard Gauge all the way from the Turkish border to Almaty in Kazakhstan.

With Germany, Turkey and Europe at the Western end and China at the Eastern end both predominately Standard Gauge, I think that this route will be all the same gauge.

A new route between Azerbaijan and Kazahkstan would avoid using a ferry across the Caspian Sea for the New Silk Road.

Ideally it would be a Standard Gauge Line.

Iran

So will Iranian Railways be able to create a Standard Gauge route to the South of the Caspian Sea?

The good news is as follows.

Iran’s railways are built using Standard Gauge.

Much of the route appears to be already built.

The route could serve Tehran and link it to Tbilisi and Baku, the capitals of Georgia and Axerbaijan.

But the bad news is given in a section in the Wikipedia entry for Iranian Railways called Challenging Construction, where this is said.

The Trans-Iranian railway traverses many mountain ranges, and is full of spirals and 1 in 36 ruling grades. Much of the terrain was unmapped when construction took place, and its geology unknown. Several stretches of line, including tunnels, were built through unsuitable geology, and had to be replaced even before the line opened. Nevertheless, the line was completed ahead of schedule.

In recent years the railways have undergone significant extensions including the 1977 linking to the western railway system at the Turkish border, the 1993 opening of the Bandar Abbas line providing better access to the sea, and the 1996 opening of the Mashad–Sarakhs extension as part of the Silk Road railway to link to the landlocked Central Asian Countries.

Add in the earthquake-prone nature of the area, and it might not be a piece of cake.

Liuk Between Iran And Turkey

There is a section in the Wikipedia entry for Iranian Railways called Link to Turkey, and International Standard Gauge route to Europe, where this is said.

In 1977, the Iranian railways linked to the western railway system at the Turkish border.

The route to the west into Turkey terminates at Van with a 90 km (56 mi) train ferry for both freight wagons and international passenger traffic (baggage car only) across Lake Van, which is at an altitude of 1,650 m (5,413 ft), to Tatvan where it joins the Turkish standard-gauge network.

Looking at the map, it would appear that it could be easier to go between Iran and Turkey via Georgia and Azerbaijan. The rail link to Azerbaijan appears to have seen lots of use between Iran and the formerSoviet Union, but it needs a gauge change on the border.

But driven by the Germans and the Georgians, it would appear that Standard Gauge trains can or will soon be able to go from Turkey to Iran.

Link To Pakistan

There is also a section  in the Wikipedia entry for Iranian Railways called Link to Pakistan, where this is said.

The construction of the railway from Bam to Zahedan was completed in early 2009 connecting Tehran to Pakistan border with an opening ceremony on 19 July 2009. However international container traffic commenced operations on 14 August 2009 with transshipment (or transloading) between 1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in) Indian gauge and 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge wagons in the new Zahedan Exchange Yard on the bypass line. The freight traffic was discontinued however after the initial trial trains and was only revived in 2015.

Iranian Railways have been trying to persuade Pakistan Railways to convert its route to Quetta to standard gauge, in order to facilitate the flow of international traffic to Europe. Pakistan responded in 2006 with a statement that it is to convert its network to standard gauge, and would plan a link with the standard gauge system of China.

A through passenger service is being considered to supplement the occasional Quetta-Zahedan service, itself a poor shadow of the former Pakistan-Iran ‘Taftan Express’.

It’s such a pity, that Indian Railways were not built to Standard Gauge. But then we built Irish Railways to a different gauge too!

Iran’s Leadership

It does appear from the last two sections with their extracts from Wikipedia, that Iran is very much taking the lead in facilitating the movement of freight between Europe and the Indian sub-continent.

Quetta

It looks like if the Iranians have their way, Quetta will be the place, where the changeover takes place between Standard and Indian Gauges. This is the first two paragraphs of the Wikipedia entry for the city.

Quetta is the provincial capital of Balochistan, Pakistan and the ninth-largest city of the country. The city is known as the fruit garden of Pakistan, due to the numerous fruit orchards in and around it, and the large variety of fruits and dry fruits produced there. The immediate area has long been one of pastures and mountains, with varied plants and animals relative to the dry plains to the west. Quetta is at an average elevation of 1,680 meters (5,510 feet) above sea level, making it Pakistan’s only high-altitude major city. The population of the city is estimated to be approximately 1,140,000.

Located in north western Balochistan near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, Quetta is a trade and communication centre between the two countries. The city lies on the Bolan Pass route which was once the only gateway from Central Asia to South Asia. Quetta played an important role militarily for the Pakistani Armed Forces in the intermittent Afghanistan conflict.

Placing the main rail gauge change in Quetta, must improve the economic prospects for the area.

The altitude of the city could be a problem, but Wikipedia also says trains are attacked.

Conclusion

This project would appear to be a very feasible way to create a rail route between Europe and India, which from Europe to Quetta will be Standard Gauge and from Quetta Eastwards will be Indian Gauge.

 

 

June 8, 2017 Posted by | Transport | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan’s Response To The Terrorism

According to this report on the BBC, the Pakistan government is ending its  suspension of the death penalty.

He also announced an end to the moratorium on the death penalty for terrorism cases, which correspondents say is a move aimed at countering a view held by many Pakistanis that many terror suspects end up evading justice.

No wonder the Taliban just gets worse and worse.

I have got so fed up with all the problems in the Middle East and Pakistan, I now rarely use any shop or business that is owned by people from the area, who are obviously Muslims.

As the Qataris seem to be one of the funders of Islamic State, I also steer clear of anything they own if I can.

I’m beginning to feel very sorry for the average hard-working Muslims, who will feel the backlash of the nihilists in the Middle East.

I must say, I’m glad to see the old price going South, as it’s hurting some of the most odious people in the World. But sadly they’ll just have to not buy the sixth Bentley or Lamborghini.

December 18, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Spain Is Becoming No Place To Hide For Criminals

The BBC is reporting this morning about Operation Captura, which is leading to the arrest of British criminals hiding in Spain and other places.

There is also this report on Sky.

We are obviously getting success in finding and locking up some of the worst of the worst.

But also this story appears on the BBC. Here’s the first paragraph.

A man wanted in connection with the murder of his 21-year-old wife in Bradford is believed to have left the country, police have said.

It is reported that he’s probably hiding in Pakistan.  I suppose that means, there is no chance he’ll be brought to justice.

We really must sort our relationship with that troubled state and especially, a minority of its citizens, who feel they can carry on, as they might in certain areas of their homeland.

November 14, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment

Is David Cameron Satanic?

It has been reported that Anjem Choudary has called David Cameron satanic.

Quite frankly, David Cameron is one of the least satanic prime Ministers we’ve had.  I suppose though, he shares with John Major and Margaret Thatcher, no outspoken religious views, which must make him satanic to some.

Choudary was on BBC Radio 5 this morning and Phil Williams asked if he was on benefits. He refused to answer. Judging by the texts read out on the program,  Choudary doesn’t have much support.

Let’s hope it stays that way and we can file him and his movement in the same dustbin as those of the Far Right.

Surely though after another atrocity in Pakistan yesterday in the centuries-old feud between Sunni and Shia Muslims, Islam needs a few men of peace with vision. On the subject of the rivalry between the two parts of Islam, read this.

February 17, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , , | Leave a comment

What’s Wrong With Snooker?

The news from Pakistan just seems to get worse.

The latest was this bombing of a snooker hall in Quetta.

I doubt that any religion or sect could be against such an innocent game of snooker and it looks like Sunni Muslims were attacking Shias.

I just can’t understand anybody wanting to kill anybody, except in exceptional circumstances!

January 11, 2013 Posted by | News, World | , , , , | Leave a comment

A Tale Of Two Young Women

Today we had the good news of Malala Yousafzai leaving hospital after being shot by the Taleban in Pakistan  for speaking up for the education of girls.

But the student, who was raped and murdered in India hasn’t been as lucky. The latest news is here on the BBC.

What is it in the sub-continent about their attitude to women and girls?

But saying that, there is a surprisingly large number of Asian men in jail in the UK for sex offences.

January 4, 2013 Posted by | News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

C’s Worst Nightmares

Reading the story about the little girl taken to Pakistan against her mother’s wishes, reminds me of C’s worst nightmares in her job as a family barrister.

The first was obviously not being able to protect a client from a violent partner. I don’t think she actually had it happen, although she was very worried, that a body found on a Norfolk beach, was a former client. I know she was critical of the law in that she felt as time progressed judges couldn’t give the same level of protection to clients.

Strangely, I can’t remember any child being abducted, whilst she was dealing with the case.  Although, she did go to court to get children returned to the jurisdiction.

I can remember though, her discussing how some countries that you might find were a nightmare to deal with were not and others you think would be easy weren’t. It all depends on whether the country has signed and/or adheres to the Hague Convention.

In one case, a child had been abducted to a southern state of the United States and she wondered if it would be a difficult case.  Everything was organised by phone and fax and the Americans said to send a responsible adult like a social worker. I think though she did have a difficult case concerning a country much nearer to home.

So the happy ending to today’s case fits the rather random pattern. Although it did take a long time to resolve.

December 28, 2012 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

Indians Execute Mumbai Gunman

The Indian authorities have executed the lone surviving gunman from the Mumbai attacks of November 2008. It’s reported here on the BBC.

I am against all forms of judicial killing, whether they be after a fit and proper trial in a Court of Law or not. So I will not condone what the Indians have done.

Remember that these attacks in Mumbai, were just after I visited the city and stayed at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in the city.  How many of the staff, that attended so well to my friend and myself died in the attack?

But even being that close to an attack, doesn’t make me change my view on the death penalty.

November 21, 2012 Posted by | News, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

The German Jihadist

This cautionary tale is in the Daily Mail and a few other papers.

let’s hope his story deters others from joining.

November 3, 2012 Posted by | News | , , | Leave a comment

Why Is There So Much Religious Bigotry About?

Two stories have dominated the BBC’s most read list this weekend; the arrest in Pakistan of a disabled girl from a Christian family for blasphemy and the breaking off of talks by Cardinal O’Brien with the Scottish government over gay marriage.

Are those behind the bigotry trying to outdo each other?

With regard to the second story, I suspect that there must be quite a few gay Roman Catholics in Scotland.

August 20, 2012 Posted by | News | , , , | Leave a comment