İstanbul-Islamabad freight train to resume operations after 9 years

Since the train will conclude the one-side trip in 12 days, it is expected to reach the Islamabad dry port on the 16th of March.


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The İstanbul-Islamabad freight train is likely to resume operations on the 4th of March, after a gap of more than nine years.

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“We’ve been informed by the quarters concerned that the container train would start its journey from İstanbul (Turkey) for Islamabad (Pakistan) via Zahedan (Iran) on the 4th of March,” a senior official of the Pakistan Railways said on Sunday.

“In Pakistan, the ministries for railways and foreign affairs are coordinating with the ECO (Economic Cooperation Organisation) Secretariat that is also in contact with Turkey and Iran’s respective departments/ministries,” he added.

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Since the train will conclude the one-side trip in 12 days, it is expected to reach the Islamabad dry port on the 16th of March.

“Pakistan Railways (PR) also plans to resume this train operation from the 19th, as it is currently booking cargo for Turkey and Iran,” the official added.

The Minister for Railways, Azam Khan Swati, is expected to receive the train on the 16th of March.


According to Pakistan Railways (PR) record, the first train from Islamabad to İstanbul was inaugurated on the 14th of August, 2009.

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Similarly, the first train from İstanbul to Islamabad dry port reached on the 13th of August, 2010.

Around eight trains have been dispatched from Pakistan to Turkey, with the last leaving the Lahore dry port on the 5th of November, 2011.

Since the service’s launch in 2009, Turkey has sent six trains to the South Asian country, with the last one reaching here on the 9th of December, 2011.

“The train named the ‘ECO Train’ will be operated on Thursdays falling in the first week of every month. The train length would be 420 meters. The allowable load will be 750 gross tonnes,” reads a related document.

As per the present arrangement to start the train and the schedule agreed jointly by Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan, the running time between Drence-Kapıköy (Turkey) and Zahedan-Tabriz (Iran) will be 90 hours each.

From Zahedan to Islamabad, the train would take 135.5 hours.

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