The plan to establish the international corridor was signed by Iran, India and Russia in 2000 to boost economic and trade ties and reduce the distance for cargo transportation between India and Europe via Iran. The international corridor would connect the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf via Iran to the Caspian Sea, Azerbaijan, Russia and further to the countries of Europe. The corridor’s operation would cut the costs by 30 percent, while the duration of transportation would be 40 percent shorter.
Inauguration Ceremony The construction of the Rasht- Qazvin railway project started in 2006, and on 6 March 2019 Qazvin-Rasht railway was opened formally by President Hassan Rohani, having launched the first trial train along the new route.
The ceremony was attended by the high-ranking authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran: Mohammad Islami - Minister of Roads and Urban Development, Saeid Rasouli - Vice-Minister for Roads and Urban Development - Chairman of the Board and President of RAI, Kheirollah Khademi - Vice Minister and Managing Director for Construction and Development of Transport Infrastructure, Rahmani Fazli - Interior Minister, and other top authorities. Among foreign guests there were high-ranking representatives of Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Pakistan, Russia, Uzbekistan and international organisations.
As one of the major participants in the North-South corridor, the delegation of the Republic of Azerbaijan was represented by a high-ranking delegation headed by Shahin Mustafayev, Minister of Economy, Ramin Guluzade, Minister of Transport, Communications and High Technologies, Chairman of “Azerbaijani Railways” CJSC Javid Gurbanov and Ambassador Plenipotentiary and Extraordinary of Azerbaijan to Iran Bunyad Huseynov.
The Qazvin-Rasht railway line is 164 km long, and will be further connected to Anzali and Astara. The railway between Astara in Azerbaijan and Astara in Iran has been already completed.
This very important project has been designed and carried out by Iranian engineers despite all its complexities and can be a very important and strategic one in the region.
Concurrent with the inauguration of the Qazvin-Rasht railway, Memorandum of Understanding was signed for the construction of the Rasht-Astara railway and a line linking Rasht to the port city of Anzali in Gilan province. Rasht-Caspian route will be completed in a year, and the stretch will be extended to Anzali Port in two years. Once the project is complete, the Caspian Port will become the largest hub in northern Iran and make a major contribution to the national and local economic development. The Rasht-Astara project is also slated to go on stream within 4 years.
All the mentioned projects are aimed to contribute to achieving INSTC’s (International North-South Transport Corridor) envisaged plans.
The route location
The railway originates from Siah Cheshmeh Staion in the Northwest of Qazvin, then passes through Dastjerd Station, goes to Kouhin-Shirin Sou, continues its way to Loshan and Manjil, goes around Roodbar town, stretches to Emamzadeh Hashem and finally ends in Rasht Station.
The Qazvin-Rasht railway will handle around 1.4 million passengers, and transport 5.1 million tons of goods per year in the first year of operation.
The Qazvin-Rasht Railway, 164 km in length, includes 123 km single tracks and 41 km double tracks. Considering 45 km station tracks and 42 km double track, the total length of the route will reach 251 km.
Qazvin-Rasht railway consists of 8 sections with maximum gradient of 30%o for double tracked lines and 15% for single tracked lines. The railway includes 50 bridges totaling 8792 meters, 53 tunnels totaling 22 kilometers, 9 stations, 12 galleries and with 30 000 tons of rails used for construction. Maximum speed for passenger trains will be 160 km/h and 120 km/h - for freight trains.