IRANIAN President President Mohammad Khatami formally inaugurated a further section of Tehran suburban Line 5 on March 15. The 35 km line from Sadeghieh to Karaj has been extended 9 km to Golshahr, with one intermediate station at Mahdasht. In the next few years Line 5 will be extended further west to Hashgerd.

Operator Tehran Urban & Suburban Railway Corp expects the Golshahr extension to increase traffic on the route from 100000 to 150000 passengers/day. Initially, the half-hourly Tehran - Karaj service is only extended to Golshahr between the morning and evening peaks, but TUSRC is looking to increase the frequency following the delivery of a further eight electric locos from China in December. Peak-hour headways will be cut from 15 to 5min.

TUSRC Managing Director Mohsen Hashemi announced in February that the Iranian parliament had ratified a US$2bn financing package for the next round of metro expansion. He noted that this was a 133% increase on the US$1·5bn authorised for construction of Lines 1, 2 and 5.

The second tranche of funding will cover work on Lines 3 and 4, together with a northern extension of Line 1 and an eastern extension of Line 2. Hashemi said these routes are expected to be completed in 2009-11. A US$836m contract for construction of the 21 km east-west Line 4 was awarded to China North Industries Corp in May 2004 (RG 6.04 p321).