Russian Rail Company to Invest $78 Million in Armenia

YEREVAN (Combined Sources)–The Russian-owned South Caucasian Railway Company will invest some $78 million in 2009 to restore and develop Armenia’s aging soviet-era railroad infrastructure, the company’s director general said on Wednesday.

“It should be said that 2009 is a very important year for speeding up paces, restoring infrastructure and upgrade planning and security-providing nature of our economy. It is very important to improve quality of services up to the level out society, state and consumer expect,” Shevket Shaydullin told reporters at the Novosti International Press Center.

The Russian railways company has been operating Armenia’s railroad infrastructure since February of last year, when it won a tender for the exclusive right to manage Armenia’s network for at least 30 years.

“We have a task to restore all the Armenian railway directions,” Shaydullin said.

He said the company is currently studying the feasibility of restoring the Kars-Gyumri railway connecting Armenia and Turkey, closed since 1993 when Turkey blockaded Armenia.

Earlier last year, Armenia’s Transport and Communication Minister said the Russian company expected Armenia to have renewed rail communication with Turkey and Azerbaijan in 2009 and 2010 respectively.

The construction of an Iran-Armenia railroad is also under consideration by the company, Shaydullin, noting that the project is a “very important and right program” for Armenia as the two countries are currently only linked by one highway.

The Construction of an Iran-Armenia railroad is “being discussed on the governmental level and is important for the Armenian and Russian economies,” he said, adding that both governmen’s have positively assessed the need to build the rail link. “There is a problem in the issue of participants of construction of the railroad. I think the issue will be settled in the nearest future.”

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