Will China never stop stretching the tentacles of its enormous rail network? After proposing railway links to Nepal, Thailand and, rather ambitiously, the US, state-owned rail giant China Railway has now set its sights on newly open Iran, reports China Daily.
Running from Xinjiang's Urumqi and Yining to Tehran with stops in Almaty in Kazakhstan, Bishkek in Kyrgyzstan, Tashkent and Samarkand in Uzbekistan, and Ashgabat in Turkmenistan, the high-speed route would be part of China’s new Silk Road strategy, which aims to boost trade with Central Asia.
Although a rail network connecting China with Central Asia already exists, the flow of goods is hampered by incompatible tracks – trains end up waiting for days at border crossings to change their gauges. The proposed new line would not only have a uniform track width, it would also run trains at up to 300 km/h (185 mph) for passenger trains and 120 km/h for freight trains.
[Map via China Daily]