Armenia-Turkey Border Opening to Weaken Georgian Transport Role

YEREVAN (ArmRadio)—The Russian owned South Caucasus Railway Company is ready to resume railway transport between Armenia and Turkey,” a high level official from the company said Thursday, adding that the opening of the border will diminish Georgia’s role as a transport corridor in the region.

Speaking to reporters at a press briefing in Yerevan, Marat Khakov said that the opening of the Turkish-Armenian border will decrease reliance on freight transports through Georgia, which Russia favors.

“When Armenian-Turkish border is opened, Gyumri-Ayrum railway demand will be reduced,” he said.

Khakov said the company discussed the issue with the ministry of Transport and Communication last week. He said the rail company is ready to activate all rail lines linking the two countries within two days once “corresponding political and technical agreements are made.”

He said the Russian-owned company plans on investing a total of 1.2 billion rubles in Armenia’s rail infrastructure.

It will also invest 600 million rubles over three years in the development of rail track and facilities in Armenia and another 10 million rubles are earmarked for design and survey works, according to Khakov.

He said that two refurbished locomotives will be introduced into the company’s locomotive fleet this October and that halted railway traffic between Gyumri and Vanadzor will be resumed in a few months.

Khakov also addressed the three railway accidents at the Masis and Noragavit stations, as well as at the Tumanyan-Shaghali crossing. In the first two cases, he explained, the accidents were caused by “a human factor.” In the third instance, Khakov said, the Tumanyan-Shaghali line is the most in need of repair.

A technical diagnostics center to manage the development of Armenia’s railways will be opened at the Masis station by next May, he added.

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