Turkey, Iran resume train service after four years


Turkey and Iran have resumed train operations between Ankara and Tehran after a four-year interruption.

Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (IRIR) Saeed Rasouli flagged off the first train service on Wednesday in a ceremony graced by senior officials.

According to Mehr news agency, the Trans Asia Express, carrying passengers and freight, left Tehran railway station for at the Turkish capital and took about 60 hours to arrive in Ankara on Saturday.

The train service will run on a weekly basis every Wednesday. It involves two train travel segments and a ferry journey. The IRIR train leaving Tehran will have a layover in the Iranian city of Tabriz before heading to Lake Van in eastern Turkey.

Passengers will then ride a ferry across the lake before taking a train operated by Turkey’s state railway agency to Ankara.

The decision to resume the service came in May after meetings between Iranian and Turkish officials. Trains between the eastern Turkish city of Van near the Iranian border and Tehran resumed in late June.

The service marks yet another milestone in expanding trade ties between Iran and Turkey whose leaders have dismissed unilateral American sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Iran is one of the biggest oil suppliers for Turkey, which is almost completely reliant on imports to meet its energy needs. It also imports natural gas from Iran, the country’s second-largest supplier after Russia.


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