PLANS are afoot to nudge the 1575 km Georgian Railway towards a commercial existence. With the help of a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction & Development, GR is to be restructured with the aim of ultimately achieving the status of a joint stock company. Closely allied to this is planned legislation aimed at separating GR from government control, allowing it to become established initially as a state-owned company.

EBRD funds will be used to study the changes needed to meet these objectives, but a further sum is earmarked for upgrading the Transcaucasian trunk route linking Georgia’s ports on the Black Sea with Baku on the Caspian Sea. Investment in this key corridor should enable GR to build up a better revenue base and help develop trade - providing of course that military conflict does not envelop this troubled region again. o