The trial operation of a freight train service connecting the Pakistani and Turkish capitals via Iran has begun.
The 6,500-kilometer railroad is the first project run under the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO).
Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani inaugurated the project on Friday while representatives from ECO as well as Iran and Turkey were also present.
Pakistani Yousuf Raza Gilani expressed hop that the service play an important role for promoting interaction for the socio-economic progress of the region.
The train service is 6,506 kilometers long, 1,900 km of which passes through Pakistan, 2,570 km through Iran and 2,036 km through Turkey.
The freight train, which is carrying 20 containers with the capacity of around 750 tons, will deliver 14 containers to Tehran and 6 to Istanbul.
Meanwhile, Iran’s ECO representative Mohammad Mirzai Kahagh Director of Transport and Communication sector told IRIB that the train would reach its destination within 15 days.
Railway experts from the three countries are on board to gauge the performance and check for obstacles over the vast terrain.
The regular service of the train is expected to begin next year.
Pakistan hopes the project would increase by as much as 50 percent the three countries’ annual trade volume, which currently stands at $1 billion.
The ultimate aim of the project is to start a regular passenger train service between ECO member states and provide a link to Europe and Central Asia.
Other ECO members, including Afghanistan, might also join the service as soon as it becomes established.