Armenia Keen On Building Railway Link To Iran – Minister


ArmInfo News Agency (in Russian)
Aug 1 2008

Yerevan, 1 August: The Iran-Armenia railway will be constructed
irrespective of whether the Abkhaz section of the Georgian railway
is open or not, Armenian Minister of Transport and Communications
Gurgen Sargsyan said at a news conference today.

"We will not wait for anyone and will start the construction,"
the minister said. He said that currently three projects on the
construction of the railway with Iran are being considered and that
"there are no problems except for funding".

The cost of the construction depends on the length of the
route. According to preliminary estimates, the most preferred and
the shortest route of 397 kilometres is from the Gagarin station
[in Armenia Gegharkunik Region] to the Gavar-Martuni-Jermuk station
[towns in Armenia’s Gegharkunik and Vayots Dzor Regions].

"This is the shortest route, and that’s why it is the most profitable
one from the economic point of view," the minister said. He added
that this route would connect [Armenia] with the north of Georgia
through Vanadzor [a town in the north of Armenia] and with Meghri
[a town close to the Iranian border] via the station in Kapan [a town
in the south of Armenia].

Another 80-kilometre section will run through Iranian territory to the
Iranian station of Marand [a town in Iran’s East Azarbayjan Province],
he said.

The other two routes are 443 and 449-km long. They start from the
stations of Eraskh [a village close to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border]
and Vardenis [a town in Armenia’s Gegharkunik Region], the minister
said. He said that in any case it is planned to construct a totally
new railway line.

Previously Gurgen Sargsyan said that the preliminary cost of the
construction of the Iran-Armenia railway would range from 1.5bn to
2bn dollars. Armenia, Iran and Russia have expressed interest in
this project.