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New rail to link Central Asia and Europe will increase freight capacity


A new rail link in Central Asia will be built between northwestern China and the Atlantic coast of Europe.

The route will be called the South Branch of the Second Asia-Europe Continental Bridge, which started operations back in 1990 and links 10 provinces and autonomous regions in Central Asia with Europe.

It will be some 10,000 kilometres in length, China’s coastal regions at one end with Rotterdam, the Netherlands, at the other. The railway will have the capability of transferring in excess of 10 million tons of cargo a year, alleviating the lack of freight capacity on the current route.

Construction is expected to start soon on track between Kashi in western Xinjiang province and Andizhan in Uzbekistan. When completed the line will run from Turpan in Xinjiang, via Kashi and Andizhan, skirting both the Caspian and Black Seas, and ending up on the Atlantic coast of southern France.

The two sections from Turpan to Kashi and from Andizhan to the Atlantic shores already exist, with the missing section of some 500 kilometres to link Kashi with Andizhan.

Financial arrangements are underway with the Asian Development Bank for funding before construction can begin.


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