Transit freight booms on Bafgh - Mashhad link
As predicted in previous articles (RG 6.05 p320), a considerable amount of freight traffic is moving over the railway that opened between Bafgh and Mashhad in 2005, according to Dr John Stubbs.
Three passenger trains a week operate between the port of Bandar Abbas on the Gulf of Hormuz and Mashhad in northeastern Iran, but most trains over the line are carrying freight. Providing a direct link between the Turkmenistan border and the sea, the line handles considerable quantities of bulk liquids, mainly oil, petroleum and other oil derivatives. Compressed gases, aggregates, sulphur and steel coils are also moving over the line, with much of the traffic bound to or from the Central Asian republics. While most traffic is carried in bulk cargo wagons, there is evidence of a considerable volume of container business.
In operational terms the line suffers from the effects of wind-blown sand, especially between Bafgh and Tabas.
- CAPTION: Freight moving over the Mashhad - Bafgh line consists mainly of bulk materials including sulphur, oil and petroleum products