A Joint Expert Committee Meeting was held between Pakistan Railways and Iranian Railways at Ministry of Railways, Islamabad, on Thursday. Iranian delegation was headed by Mr. Majid Arjouni, DG Zahidan Railways.
It was decided that fortnightly passenger train between Pakistan and Iran can be restarted, as security situation is getting better. It was decided that train will be destined for Mashad or Qom and will be resumed prior to Muharram.
The regular running of 15 freight trains, on demand of merchants, between Quetta and Zahidan was also conversed and the proposed dates will be shared by Iranian side.
Iranian side preferred booking of consignment ex Zahidan for Quetta due to operational and security issues. But security is improving so now Pakistan Railways’ divisions will be in position to dispatch consignment to other parts of country as well.
During the meeting, the up gradation of Spezand and Taftan (ML III) section was also discussed. The Request for Proposal (RFP) for up gradation of existing feasibility study of ML III is in progress and will be accomplished in 2018 .
The up gradation includes complete replacement of track structure, conversion of 183 dips into bridges, rehabilitation of old bridges and provision of proper signaling. Usually LPG from Iran is imported via road. Pakistan Railways proposed for specialized containers to transport of LPG from Iran.
Pakistan Railways has also offered concession in its freight structure to promote trade through railways. Current freight rates are Rs. 800 per tonn for import and Rs. 500 per ton of export.
ECO Islamabad-Tehran –Istanbul (ITI) Train was also discussed in the meeting.
Pakistan Railways mentioned that merchants were discouraged due to change of destination from Istanbul to Kosekoy.So Pakistani side requested Iranian side to persuade ECO secretariat for revival of ECO train up to Istanbul, instead of Kosekoy. Pakistan Railways also mentioned that revision of 1959 Agreement between Pakistan Railways and Iranian Railways is under process.
Pakistan Railways has also revived communication with Taftan section on magneto telephone. Iranian side also demanded for import of mechanical and civil material from Pakistan Railways.
The meeting was chaired by Mr. Zubair Shafi Ghauri, Secretary Railway Board, and Ministry of Railways. Mr. Munawar Shah, DG Technical, Mr.Agha Waseem ,DG Operation, Mr. Noor ud Din, DCP, Mr. Aamir Baloch, DS Quetta, Ms. Asia Baig, AD T 1,Ms. Abida Maryam ,AD C 2, were also present in the meeting.