The 10th Meeting of high ranking Islamabad-Tehran-Istanbul Railway Project workgroup, better known as the ECO Train was recently convened aimed at the urgent revival of this major regional economic plan.
Pakistan Foreign Ministry Spokesman expressed certainty during his last week’s Press Conference that the ECO Train project will be put to use during the New Year. Iran, Turkey and Pakistan will put to use a railway that will link Istanbul, Tehran and Islamabad (ITI) in the year 2021.
It is expected that the revival of the ITI ECO Train will join China’s Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), sometimes referred to as the New Silk Road. The roots of this macro-scale project can be traced to ECO’s 2009 Container Carrying Train.
The Economic Cooperation Organization or ECO is an Asian Political and Economic intergovernmental organization that was founded in 1985 in Tehran by the Leaders of Iran, Pakistan and Turkey. It provides a platform to discuss ways to improve development and promote trade and investment opportunities. Yet, the container carrying service launched by ECO merely proceeded up to the launching stage and was never fully used.
Even the three countries will be opening the passenger trains along with these cargo trains service among them, as till now they have never been implemented.
The 6,540 km Railway’s length is more than one-sixth of the earth belt. It includes 1,950 kilometres in Turkey, 26,600 kilometres in Iran, and another 1,900 kilometres in Pakistan.
Travelling from Islamabad to Istanbul by the ECO Train will take 10 days and is lot faster than the 21-day sea voyage between Turkey and Pakistan
Pakistani State Official who spoke on condition of anonymity said; the ITI ECO Train will link through Pakistan’s ML-1 Railroad to China’s Xinjiang Region, which is part of (CPEC) China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, China’s Belt & Road Initiative Mega-Project.
The completion of the project is scheduled for the year 2026. The ITI will be the first regular China-Turkey Rail Service.
Yet, there is also an indirect possibility. On December 19, 2020 a train traveled through Turkey, Azerbaijan Republic and the Caspian Sea to China’s Xian City, which is at the Eastern End of the Silk Road, which once connected Ancient China to the Mediterranean Region. This Path, known as the East-West Trans-Caspian Corridor, travels through the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railways and the Economic Analyst believe China can develop its Belt & Road Initiative through both Paths.