To create a reliable link between Europe and Asia Uzbekistan bets on the electrification of Corridor 6 CAREC

Feb 24th, 2012 | Category: Articles, Current Issue ID, February 12, Products & Technologies

The quality of the railway network electrification system has a direct influence on the reliability, safety and performance of transport. The electrification brings significant benefits to transport such as increasing the speed of trains, improving comfort and a reduced environmental impact.

The implementation of railway electrification projects is a big opportunity for industry and economy as it brings long-run benefits regarding the transport infrastructure and reduces costs. Moreover, the electrification plays a significant role in reducing carbon dioxide emissions generated by railway transport, improving the air quality and reducing noise. Electric trains issue by average 20-30% less carbon dioxide than diesel trains and the superior performance of their braking systems and acceleration helps reduce travel times.
The importance of railway electrification has convinced states to electrify their railway networks and the institutions to fina-lize these projects to increase traffic flows, especially in the freight segment. Therefore, to accelerate economic growth in the Eurasian area, Uzbekistan launches railway electrification projects. The most important of them is the Marakand–Karshi line (140 km), part of Corridor 6 CAREC (Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation). As Uzbekistan owns important natural sources (gold, gas, oil), the competition of international markets imposes the establishment of an efficient, economic and reliable transport system. With 3 of the 6 CAREC corridors, Uzbekistan has huge international transport opportunities. The line to be electrified links Europe to Middle East and South Asia through Central Asia and has a capa-city of 100 million tonnes per annum. The north section of the Corridor is electrified and currently operates electric locomotives. The rest of the line is soon to be electrified. The project includes the construction of the catenary system, three traction substations, the acquisition of the control system for the power supply and the modernisation of line equipments. Moreover, the authorities will purchase the interlocking system and communication systems for facilitating the efficiency of operations.
The electrification of the line will reduce the fuel consumption (currently, the deficit amount to 33.6 thousand tonnes/year), will boost traffic capacity (the transport capacity on simple line will be 1.5 times higher and in mountainous areas up to 3 times higher), will save energy and also reduce the wear of the braking system.
At the end of 2011, the Asian Development Bank prolonged the financing contract with Uzbekistan granting USD 100 Million of the USD 176 Million for the development of this project. According tot he bank, the line will be put in service in 2016 and will help increase the trade in the region: Until 2020, the trade with Kazakhstan will reach USD 3.6 Billion from the current USD 1.8 Billion and with Afghanistan, USD 1.8 Billion, from the current USD 876 Million.
“The modernisation of the railway system and consequently the implementation of this project will improve regional connectivity along this absolutely vital transit route, will reduce transport costs and stimulate trade”, declared Zheng Wu, a Transport Specialist at ADB.

[ by Pamela Luică ]

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