The Istanbul-Islamabad freight train will resume operations from this week after a gap of nine years, connecting the three countries of Pakistan, Turkey and Iran, a senior official has confirmed.
“We have been informed by the quarters concerned that the container train would start its journey from Istanbul (Turkey) for Islamabad (Pakistan) via Zahidan on March 4 (Thursday). Though the schedule will be re-confirmed in a day or two, so far March 4 is the final date of departure of the train from Istanbul,” the senior Pakistan Railways official told Dawn news on Sunday.
“In Pakistan, Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Railways are coordinating with the Economic Cooperation Organisation (ECO) Secretariat that is also in contact with the respective departments/ministries of Turkey and Iran,” he added.
According to the official, the train is expected to reach the Islamabad dryport on March 16 after completing the one-sided trip in 12 days.
This development was also confirmed to the news outlet by Minister for Railways Azam Khan Swati.
According to the Pakistan Railways, the first train from Islamabad to Istanbul was inaugurated on August 14, 2009.
So far eight trains have been dispatched from Pakistan to Turkey, with the last leaving the Lahore dryport on November 5, 2011, Dawn news reported.
Since the launch of the service in 2009, Turkey has sent six trains to Pakistan, with the last one reaching here on December 9, 2011.