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Across Iran

01 Oct 2005

Letter to the editor

Sir - I write with reference to the report that 'with the construction of the Mashhad - Bafgh and Kerman - Zahedan lines nearing completion, RAI is expecting a significant increase in international business' (RG 3.05 p118).

I have just travelled on the Kerman - Bam section (RG 2.05 p66). There is, I understand, one train daily in each direction, timed to connect at Kerman with overnight trains to and from Tehran. As far as I could ascertain there are as yet no through trains between Tehran and Bam. I saw no evidence of any freight movement on this new section.

However, the section from Bam to Zahedan appears to be far from complete. Observations from the bus journey revealed that a start has been made in forming the alignment, putting down ballast and building bridges. But I saw no evidence of tracklaying, nor was there evidence of construction at the Zahedan end.

If RAI is planning on increasing its international business, substantial investment will be needed between Zahedan and Quetta in Pakistan. The track on this section is in very poor condition, to say nothing of the rolling stock.

Dr John Stubbs
Amritsar, India