Railroads at a station in Uzbekistan. There is a blue, white and green train on the left.

Railway between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to be electrified

The railway line connecting the Uzbek cities of Bekobod and Qo’qon (Kokand) via Tajikistan will be electrified by the end of 2021.

A version of this article was published on Novastan’s French website on 1 April 2021.

Tajikistan and Uzbekistan plan to electrify the BekobodQo’qon railway line, Asia-Plus reported on 10 March. The endpoints are in Uzbekistan but most of the route runs through Tajik territory and passes through the cities of Khujand and Konibodom. The 108-kilometre route is currently served by diesel locomotives.

“The negotiation of an agreement, which is expected to be signed in the near future, is coming to an end,” Tajik Railways told Asia-Plus. The Russia media Sputnik reports, with reference to an anonymous source, that the two countries have already signed a contract. The plan is for Uzbekistan to take charge of the electrification of the route in full, including in the Tajik region of Sughd.

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Tajik Railways noted that preliminary work took place in 2020 with Tajik and Uzbek specialists.

The electrification of the line is planned in three steps. First, the line between the Uzbek capital Tashkent and Bekobod will be modernised. This is followed by the section between Bekobod and Konibodom and finally the further route to Qo’qon. According to Sputnik’s source, the work should be completed by the end of 2021.

Develop freight and tourism

This electrification of the line should in particular increase trade between Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. According to Sputnik’s source, it is expected that 32,000 trains will be able to cross the Soghd region every year, a significant increase.

This line could also develop tourism between the two states. It is one of several projects to this end: as the Uzbek news outlet UzDaily reported on 24 March, both sides are planning, among other things, the creation of so-called “green corridors” for buses. In addition, the flight connection between Tashkent and the Tajik capital Dushanbe resumed in 2017.

Since the visit of Uzbekistan’s president Shavkat Mirziyoyev to Tajikistan in March 2018, the relations between the two states have improved significantly, leading, among others, to the rehabilitation of another railway line between Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Maeva Lounadi
Novastan.org

Translated from French by Valentine Baldassari

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