First Finland – China intermodal service launched

A launch ceremony was held at the Tehola intermodal terminal in Kouvala, Finland, on November 10 to mark the departure of the first Finland – China rail freight service.

The departure ceremony for the first Railgate Finland China Express service was attended by more than 70 guests, including the Russian, Kazakh and Chinese ambassadors to Finland.

The service from Kouvola to Xi’an offers a transit time of 10-12 days for the 8000km trip, with just one break-of-gauge at the Russia-China border.

The service is a partnership between Kazakhstan Railways’ subsidiary KTZ Express and its sole agent in Scandinavia, Unytrade Oy. The train operates with the support of Xi’an International Port Multimodal Transportation Company. Haulage is provided by Finland’s VR-Transpoint, Russian Railways (RZD), KTZ Express and China Railway Corporation.

The first China-Finland train is due to leave Xi’an before the end of the month and a second Kouvola – Xi’an train will run in December.

A regular weekly service is expected to start running in both directions early next year.

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Seven countries sign China-Europe rail freight agreement

CHINA Railway Corporation (CRC) says that itself and railway authorities from Belarus, Germany, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Poland and Russia have signed an agreement to deepen their levels of cooperation on China-Europe intermodal rail freight services.

The agreement commits the authorities to push for better railway infrastructure to enhance the speed, convenience and competitiveness of services, and to improve customs procedures. In addition, information sharing platforms will be incorporated to improve safety, while a joint work team will be formed to solve problems associated with the transcontinental rail freight.

China is pushing the growth of rail freight to Europe as part of its “One Belt One Road” economic strategy and transit countries are steadily embracing the initiative as a means of enhancing their own infrastructure and promoting economic development.

Since the first transcontinental service was launched in 2011, the network has grown to serve 27 Chinese cities and 28 destinations across Europe.

Traffic restrictions persist in 2 regions of Kazakhstan due to high water

Traffic restrictions persist in Kostanay and North Kazakhstan regions due to high water, Kazinform has learned from Kazakhavtodor. Sections of the Yekaterinburg-Almaty and Sarykol village-border of North Kazakhstan region highways were closed for all types of transport in Kostanay region due to flooding. Sections of the Chelyabinsk-Novosibirsk highway in North Kazakhstan region were shut down for the same reason. Washaways are observed on the Yekaterinburg-Almaty highway as well.

Azerbaijan launched new link to Iran

AZERBAIJAN officially inaugurated a new cross-border link to the Iranian city of Astara on March 5 when the first test train crossed the newly-constructed dual-gauge (1520mm and 1435mm gauge) bridge over the Astarachay river, which divides the two countries.

Construction on the 8.3km link began in April 2016, and the line runs from Astara, Azerbaijan, to the Iranian border city of the same name. From here the plan is to connect the line with the Iranian Islamic Republic Railways (RAI) network at Qazvin following completion of the 167km Astara – Rasht line, construction of which is expected to start later this year, and the 160km Rasht – Qazvin section, which is nearing completion.

LDZ to trial India – Latvia intermodal service

LATVIAN Railways (LDZ) has announced plans for the trial operation of a new largely rail-based container service connecting Riga with Mumbai in India.

The planned trial will involve transporting containers by sea from the port of Mumbai to Banda Abbas in Iran for onward transport to Latvia by rail. A 15-day transit time is being targeted.

LDZ believes the development of the International North – South Transport Corridor will offer South Asian manufacturers an alternative route to Western Europe using rail and then Baltic Sea shipping from Riga to Germany and Scandinavia.

 

Uzbekistan: First test train through tunnel under Kamchik Pass expected in mid April

Uzbekistan Railways plans to run the first test train through the 19.1 kilometer tunnel beneath Kamchik Pass, on new electrified Angren – Pap railway on 15th of April according to local press. The Kamchik pass is the only route connecting the Ferghana Valley, the Uzbekistan’s most eastern region, to the capital Tashkent, shortening journey times by two hours, and the rest of the country. The rail line will also improve the railway connection of the Uzbek part of the Fergana Valley to the Transport Corridor Europe–Caucasus–Asia (TRACECA) rail transport corridors running east-west through Turkmenistan-Caspian-Caucasus-Turkey and Kazakhstan-Russia, potentially adding traffic to these routes.