Four train lines in development

Designs for Development Road project near 50 percent completion: railway official

BAGHDAD, January 3 – The director of railways in Iraq, Younis Al-Kaabi, has confirmed that basic designs for transportation lines connecting the country to Europe are now 50 percent complete.

Speaking in a televised interview, Al-Kaabi noted that Baghdad has requested the Italian company preparing the designs to work according to a 50-year plan that hopes to establish four railway lines between Al-Faw in Basra and Fishkhabour in Duhok governorate.

Younis Al-Kaabi, Director of the General Railway Company:

All of the major global companies have visited us at the General Directorate of Railways, met with the Prime Minister, and held discussions with the Minister of Transport and his advisors. Almost everyone wants to be part of the project because we have simply laid the foundations for a project equivalent to the Silk Road. Even China, a competitor in the project, is interested in participating.

All major Chinese companies have visited us, expressing their interest in the Development Road project, wanting to be a part of this significant initiative. We are serious about it, and we will engage a select group of global companies to execute the project. The exact number of participating countries cannot be determined, but in the first conference held in Baghdad, 10 countries participated, in addition to the European Union, the World Bank, and the Gulf Cooperation Council. After the conference, countries like China, Lebanon, Russia, and Kazakhstan expressed their willingness to participate.

The world has come together in one project, and the project, being as large as Iraq, accommodates all these companies to participate in its implementation. It represents a civilizational leap for Iraq as it is more than a mere transportation project. Today, in the designs for the Development Road, we have requested the highest standards because the world evaluates countries based on their economic importance.

We aim to build modern technology into the Development Road because the road will connect to Europe and China, both technological giants. It’s impossible for us to construct transportation routes without this level of technology. We have requested that neighboring countries joining this project match this level. In other words, we want them to have technology from 2028, not today’s technology.

We asked the consultants to provide a vision for the next fifty years, and we asked the consulting company about the possibility of doubling transportation. Instead of having two railway lines, we want to make it four, separating passenger transportation lines from freight transportation lines.

We have completed over 600 km of initial designs. As for soil surveys, two companies are working under the supervision of the Italian consulting company. We have completed 1,000 kilometers of soil surveys from Faw to Fishkhabour. Some areas, such as Basra, have faced delays due to minefields, and some areas have certain technical specifications that will be completed soon.

The governors are cooperative, and we have signed agreements with the Diwaniyah and Muthanna governorates not to conflict with the Development Road. This paves the way for moving forward with detailed designs, and soon we will sign similar agreements with Najaf and Dhi Qar.

There is no delay in our work, and there is a weekly briefing presented to the Prime Minister. We have not been delayed for a single day, except for matters beyond our control.

We have a very good relationship with Turkey regarding the Development Road. A delegation will go to Ankara to finalize technical discussions before signing the bilateral agreement. Following that, we will sign the quadrilateral agreement with Qatar and the UAE. All of this will be a significant strength for the Development Road. Turkey serves as a gateway to Europe, and Qatar and the UAE are supportive of the project. If the quadrilateral agreement is achieved, Iraq, Qatar, Turkey, and the UAE will be the strongest economies in the region.