Dec. 17 -China has opened a $1.7 billion credit line for Iran for the electrification of the 926 km railway running from Tehran to Mashhad in the east of the country. The terms are excellent: Two-thirds of the cost will be financed by the Chinese government at a very low interest rate, and the remaining third will be covered by Chinese insurer Sinosure (China Export and Credit Insurance Corp.), according to Iran’s Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development.
Five months ago, Iran signed an agreement with China National Machinery Import and Export Corp. (CMC) to carry out the electrification and upgrading, which is projected to take up to four years. The route is already double-tracked, but with electrificaiton, the speed will increase from 160 kph to 200 kph. Iran’s English-language Financial Tribune in reporting the credit agreement today, adding that CEO of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways Saeed Mohammadzadeh reports that when finished, the railroad–which forms part of the New Silk Road–will have the capacity to transport 25 million passengers and 10 million tons of cargo per year.
Iran’s goal is to electrify all of its rail by 2025.