QUETTA: Chief Minister Balochistan Dr Abdul Malik Baloch on Tuesday inaugurated the new freight train from Quetta to Zahedan, Iran via Taftan.
The freight service has been relaunched after five years by Pakistan railways with the cooperation of the Iranian Railways.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr Baloch said the goods train will travel to Zahedan once a week. He expressed hope that the restoration of freight train to Iran would be followed by passenger train.
“This will boost economic activities between the two countries”, Dr Baloch said.
“Downfall of railway was a major set back for the downtrodden class of society,” the chief Minister said.
The decision to resume freight train service to Iran was made at a meeting between the two countries at Tehran on May 18 this year.
The train passes through rugged mountains and deserts of Balochistan on its way to Zahedan, located 700 kilometres from Quetta, the provincial capital.
Earlier on Monday, Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique had said that the train composition would consist of 24 freight vans which would be extended up to 40 vans in the future and the train would transport rice and other goods from Pakistan to Iran while it would bring sulphur, coal and other chemicals from Iran to Pakistan.
He said the train would bring 2,000 litres of oil from Iran initially which would be increased up to 5,000 litres in future as the price of oil was about Rs14 to 15 per litre in Iran, adding the train would be able to manage its expenses through this fuel.
The minister said Pakistan had informed Iran and Turkey that PR was ready to operate the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) train as soon as it receives green signal from these countries.
He informed media that the PR was now out of “ICU” and it was running purely on Pakistan Railways model.