High-Speed Rail Line by Chinese Company to Connect Agadir and Marrakesh

24/06/2016 (Morocco World News - Morocco): Rabat –  A delegation from the a Chinese Society of Railways met Rabie Khlie, the General Director of the National Railways Office (ONCF), in Rabat on Monday June 20 to discuss the possibility to construct a high-speed rail between Marrakesh and Agadir. According to ONCF, the meeting is a part of a plan to initiate actions on an agreement between the two companies signed on May 11. The two sides discussed potential ways to increase cooperation and reviewed the technical studies of the future high-speed line linking Marrakesh to the coastal city. The Chinese company aims to get the multi-billion contract for Marrakech-Agadir line. The line will be the second of its kind in Morocco after the French company Alstom constructs a high speed line between Casablanca-Tangier expected to operate in 2018. Earlier in June during the King’s visit to China, the two parties signed a series of agreements, including a memorandum of understanding on rail cooperation between the Chinese company and ONCF.


SAR given charge of Saudi railway projects

17/07/2016 (Gulf Digitan News - Baharain): Saudi Arabia's Cabinet has decreed

that Saudi Railway Company (SAR) will now be the owner of infrastructure of

railway projects linking the cities of the kingdom.The Cabinet appointed the

Transport Minister as the chairman of the board of directors of SAR (SAR).

The Cabinet appointed the Minister of Transport Suleiman

Al Hamdan as the chairman of the board of directors of SAR. He succeeds Dr

Rumaih Mohammed Al-Rumaih who was named president of Saudi Railways

Organisation earlier this year.SAR was set up to build the 2,750km North-South

Railway to connect the Gulf port of Ras Al Khair and Riyadh with mineral deposits

and cities in the centre and north of Saudi Arabia. The first 1,392km line opened

in 2011.SAR is also responsible for the planned 950-km Landbridge rail project

linking Riyadh with Jeddah on the Red Sea coast.


22/06/2016 (Wall Street Journal - USA): JEZREEL VALLEY, Israel—More than a hundred years ago, the Ottoman Empire built a railway line that shuttled goods on steam locomotives from the Mediterranean Sea to the souks of Damascus and the Saudi holy city of Medina. Now Israel is poised to open new tracks tracing the old line between the port city of Haifa and a terminal 5 miles short of the Jordanian border. The effort is a bid to boost moribund commerce with the country’s Arab neighbors. But they have officially given the project a frosty reception, hampering its prospects even as trade flourishes along the route. The former Hejaz Railway connected the area that is now Israel with the Arab world further east, running through territory now riven by Middle East borders. After the establishment of Israel in 1948, it was dismantled and regional trade was blunted by a series of Arab-Israeli wars, as well as by failed attempts to reach a comprehensive peace settlement and establish a Palestinian state.


Israel Railways to build Modi'in-Jerusalem rail link

06/07/2016 (Globes - Israel): The journey time between the two cities from 2019 when the 2.5 kilometer link is completed will be 17 minutes. Keshet Modi'in has won the Israel Railways tender to build the link between Modi'in and the new Jerusalem-Tel Aviv fast rail link. The link will cost NIS 77 million and will reduce travel time between Modi'in and Jerusalem to just 17 minutes.Work on the 38 kilometer Jerusalem-Tel Aviv rail link will be completed in less than two years with trains to start running by the second half of 2018. Travel time between the two cities will be less than 30 minutes on what will be Israel Railways first electrified line.


Turkey to build logistics center for BTK railway project

13/07/2016 (News.Az - Azerbaijan): Turkey plans to build a logistics center in its Kars province within the implementation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway project, said Turkey’s Minister of Transport, Maritime and Communication Ahmet Arslan. Arslan made the remarks before his meeting with the head of Azerbaijan Railways CJSC Javid Gurbanov, Trend reports. The minister said the construction of the BTK railway will be completed until the end of 2016. “With the implementation of the Marmaray project for development of Istanbul’s railway network, the Great Silk Road’s railway segment will be continuous, allowing directly transporting raw materials and finished goods from Central Asia through Azerbaijan and Turkey to Europe,” explained Arslan.


Turkey to sell train rails to Iran in exchange for oil

25/06/2016 (Tehran Times - Iran): Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communications Minister Binali Yildirim has said Turkey will buy oil from Iran in exchange of train rails in line with an 80-million-euro deal.Yildirim visited the Black Sea province of Karabuk to open a railway route, which was completed by European Union funds and Turkey’s financial contributions, in the region on April 26.  Yildirim noted Turkey had inked a deal with Iran for Iranian oil in exchange for train rails, which are made in Karabuk. “Karabuk has been one of the oldest industrial hubs of the Turkish Republic… Karabuk has now become an important train rail producer and exporter. We recently made an 80-million-euro agreement with Iran to sell train rails. In line with the deal, Turkish refinery TUPRAS will buy oil from Iran. In exchange for oil, Karabuk will sell rails worth 80 million euros,” he said, adding that this deal was of great significance not only for Karabuk, but also for the entire country.


Iran, Kazakhstan to boost railway coop

22/06/2016 (Turkish Weekly - Turkey): Iran and Kazakhstan are to develop railway cooperation, an Islamic Republic of Iran Railways official said. According to Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, Hossein Ashouri said other regional countries like China and Turkmenistan could also use this railway corridor.He noted that Kazakhstan has suitable railway infrastructures. Explaining Kazakhstan's contributions in developing Iranian railway infrastructures after launching Iran-China railway, he said that Kazakhstan's income will experience a growth. Ashouri added that the new railway will increase the capacity of transporting Kazakhstan's wheat Iran which is now over 10 million tons per year.


Iran, Azerbaijan Resolved to Build Rasht-Astra Railway

10/07/2016 (Tasnim News Agency - Iran): TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s ambassador to Azerbaijan said the two countries are “seriously” resolved to complete the Rasht-Astara railway project and that they will continue talks on a $500-million loan from Baku to finance the project.“Regarding Rasht-Astara railway, both Iran and Azerbaijan are seriously determined to complete (the project),” Mohsen Pak-Ayeen told reporters in Tehran on Saturday. He added that countries, like Russia, Czech and Hungary have also expressed their willingness to participate in the project. Negotiations are underway about Azerbaijan’s $500 million loan to Iran, the diplomat said, adding that an Iranian working group is to pay a visit to Baku within a couple of weeks to discuss the issue.


Italy eyes $1.1bn Iran high-speed rail deal

16/07/2016 (Trade Arabia -UAE): Italy's state railways company expects to sign a contract to build the first stretch of a high-speed rail line in Iran in February 2017, its chief executive said. The contract for the roughly 100 km-stretch between Qom and Arak is worth about €1 billion ($1.1 billion), Ferrovie dello Stato chief Renato Mazzoncini said at an event in Rome. Ferrovie signed a framework agreement to build two high-speed lines in Iran when Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi visited Tehran with a delegation of business leaders in April. Mazzoncini said the overall deal would be worth about €4 billion ($4.41 billion


From Moscow to Mumbai by train, via Azerbaijan

15/07/2016 (Russia & India Report - Russia): A new railway route from Russia to India, via Azerbaijan, will soon be built, Javid Gurbanov, the Chairman of Azerbaijani Railways CJSC told journalists. Sohbet Mammadov, correspondent of Nezavisimaya Gazeta in Azerbaijan, writes that Gurbanov said that within the North-South Corridor, freight trains would run all the way from St. Petersburg and Helsinki to India.The Chairman of Azerbaijani Railways said Azerbaijan will meet the first train following this path in the coming weeks. Gurbanov said the route of the first train would be from the Indian city of Mumbai, on by ferry to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas, thence by rail to the Iranian city of Rasht. Because there is no railway line to Iran’s northern border, the cargo would be delivered by truck to the Azerbaijani border town of Astara, where it will again be placed on rails and continue to Moscow.