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Rail transport in Armenia

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Rail transport in Armenia

Armenian Railways (Armenian: Հարավկովկասյան Երկաթուղի)
Reporting mark HYU
Locale Armenia
Dates of operation 1992–
Predecessor Soviet Railways
Track gauge
Electrification 3 kV DC
Length 845 km (525 mi)
Headquarters Yerevan

The Armenian Railways (Armenian: Հարավկովկասյան Երկաթուղի, Haravkovkasyan Yerkat’ughi) is the national rail operator in Armenia. The 845 km (525 mi), gauge network is electrified at 3 kV DC.

The operating environment has deteriorated since the collapse of the Soviet Union. According to the World Bank, Armenian Railways is in dramatic need of major investment, including the replacement of rolling stock, rehabilitation of the main line between Yerevan and the Georgian border, renewal of electrification and bridge reconstruction. Rail transport is slow and unreliable, and traffic remains low compared to European countries with similar sized networks, amounting to only 2.6 million tons of freight and 0.85 million passengers in 2004.[1]

Concession

In 2007 the Armenian Government called for tenders for a 30-year concession to modernise and operate Armenian Railways, with the intention of awarding the contract in 2008. RITES and Russian Railways (RZD) qualified to bid but RITES, the Indian company, withdrew. RZD was the only bidder and has set up South Caucasian Railway as a subdiary to run the railway.[2] On 1 June 2008 South Caucasus Railways (SCR) officially started business operations under a concession agreement to manage Armenian Railways. As part of the new arrangements, on 1 June 2008, SCR, a wholly owned subsidiary of Russian Railways, received assets owned by Armenian Railways consisting of 2,000 freight cars, 58 passenger coaches, 85 locomotives and 30 electric trains. All 4,300 employees employed by Armenian Railways have retained their jobs. The concession agreement was concluded for 30 years, with a right of extension for another 20 years after the first 20 years of operation.[3]

Recent Developments

A tripartite memorandum of understanding was signed in Yerevan on 24 January 2013 concerning the construction of the Southern Armenia Railway, which will form part of a new north-south corridor linking the Black Sea and the Persian Gulf. The agreement was signed by the Dubai-based investment fund Rasia FZE, Russian Railways (RZD) subsidiary South Caucasus Railway (SCR), and the Armenian minister of transport and communications Gagik Beglaryan. The MoU covers the construction of a 316km railway linking Gavar, 50km east of Yerevan near Lake Sevar, with the Iranian border near Meghri, and a 110km highway in the southern province of Syunik. The total cost of the two projects is expected to be around $US3 billion. Both projects have an operating term of 30 years with an option for a 20 year extension. Feasibility studies have begun and Rasia FZE has appointed China Communications Construction Company as the "lead member of the development consortium" for the projects.[4]

At present the only rail connection between Armenia and Iran is the line which passes through the autonomous region of Nakhchivan, an exclave of Azerbaijan. However, because the border between the two countries is closed. the line from Yerevan is operational only as far as Yeraskh.

After his 3 September 2013 meeting with Serzh Sargsyan, the President of Armenia, Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia said that RZD can invest about RUB 15 billion in the development of the Armenian Railway. [5]

In mid-September 2013 Rasia FZE announced in a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan the achievement of a key milestone for the Southern Armenia Railway, including the release of a highly favorable feasibility study and the recommended railway design route from the China Communications Construction Company. Having reached this key milestone, Rasia was moving to secure essential regional cooperation for the financing, construction and operating stages of the project. The feasibility study results indicated that the Southern Armenia Railway would cost approximately US $3.5 billion to construct, have a length of 305 kilometers from Gagarin to Agarak, and provide a base operating capacity of 25 million tons per annum. The railway will have 84 bridges spanning 19.6 kilometers and 60 tunnels of 102.3 kilometers, comprising 40% of the total project length.[6]

As the key missing link in the International North-South Transport Corridor, the Southern Armenia Railway should create the shortest transportation route from the ports of the Black Sea to the ports of the Persian Gulf. The Southern Armenia Railway would establish a major commodities transit corridor between Europe and the Persian Gulf region, based on traffic volume forecasts of 18.3 million tons per annum. Once the railway was completed, transport costs and times for the region were expected to improve substantially, fostering greater regional trade and economic growth with direct benefits for the Armenian economy.

Stations

International Links

Most of the cross-border lines are currently closed due to political problems.[7]

Timeline

1899

1902

1993


See also

References

External links

  • Armenian Railway closed joint stock company
  • Armenian Railways at RailfanEurope
  • Armenian Railways Concession Website

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