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InterRail Newsflash March 2019

News from the InterRail Group

InterRail train service from and to Uzbekistan has become firmly established

After twelve months, InterRail can draw a positive conclusion: The rail service from the Russian Port of Nakhodka-Vostochny to Uzbekistan and vice versa, which was launched in March 2018, registers growing demand and has thus successfully passed the trial phase. The connection has already been extended to include another (third) block train, so that now a departure can be offered every ten days in both directions. Transit time is between eleven and twelve days.

On this service, the Russian InterRail subsidiary cooperates closely with the colleagues in Uzbekistan, organizing the leasing of wagons, doing port handling, freight invoicing and putting the block trains together. Increasingly, demand for this train service comes from Asian countries such as South Korea, China, Japan, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia. Owing to close cooperation with big shipping lines, this service can be offered for SOC as well as for COC from and to every port worldwide. Imports to Uzbekistan are mainly equipment for the automobile industry, car parts, household goods, resins and many more. Export goods are cotton yarn and cotton pulp, textiles, copper, cellulose, fertilizers and so on.

Owing to long-time partnerships and good cooperation with the railway companies selected, InterRail was able to successfully introduce new products and establish new routes in the past year. Today, InterRail mainly concentrates on traffics between China – Europe and China – CIS, Russia and India, as well as on the entire Central Asian corridor, operating its own local branch offices at all major interfaces.

International presence

InterRail is participating again this year in TransRussia in Moscow, which will take place from April 15 to 17 at the Crocus Expo Center, Pavilion 1. Visit us at our booth number A211 in pavilion 1.1.

For the first time, InterRail will have its own booth at the Munich transport logistic this year. We look forward to your visit at booth number 106, in hall B5, between June 4 and June 7, 2019.

Documentary: Le Dragon de Fer

End of 2017, a non-profit TV production company contacted InterRail. It wanted to realize a joint production of the TV channels CGTN and RTS: a documentary feature on the world’s longest train connection. All in all, the film project was a big challenge to our colleagues. But thanks to their good contacts with local authorities, the railway companies etc. they did an excellent job. All the colleagues involved are listed in the closing credit. The support they gave was manifold, be it in the form of an official letter in the local language to ask for a filming permit, or by organizing a vehicle with chauffer, providing an interpreter or coordinating the schedules for filming the train as it reached a certain point along the route.

The result, The Iron Dragon (Le Dragon de Fer), is a 52-minute documentary, a joint production by CGTN and RTS. A film crew traveled along the route of the train and documented, with impressive images and interesting stories, the currently longest train connection on earth. The film shows the landscapes and cultures of eight different countries along the Silk Road of the 21st century, portraying a hug variety of protagonists along this exciting journey. It also addresses the economic opportunities the Belt and Road Initiative BRI entails, but also looks at the human aspects and gives food for thought.

We have been informed about further broadcast dates:

  • TV5 Europe: April 4, 2019
  • TV5 France-Belgium-Switzerland : April 4; two reruns on 11 april 2019
  • April 13 and rerun April 18, 2019
  • TV5 USA: April 19, 2019
  • TV5 Latin America: April 19, 2019
  • TV5 Africa: April 21, 2019

News from the railways & industry

High-speed corridor from Europe to Asia

According to media reports, China and Russia confirmed their intention to expand their cooperation in the rail traffic sector. One priority will be to create a high-speed connection between Moscow and Kazan, Russia, a key component of the Eurasian high-speed corridor that connects Moscow and Beijing, China. Both countries also want to enforce the digitization of traffic processes and synchronize their processes at the border crossings. According to figures published by RZD, the rail freight volume via the Chinese - Russian border crossing stations increased by 1 million tons in 2018 and reached a total of 72.5 million tons. All in all, 1.2 million containers were transported, one third more than in 2017.

80% intermodal freight trains expected on the Rail Baltica route

As per the 2026-2056 operational plan published by RB Rail, two to three freight trains per hour at up to 120 km/h maximum speed are to run on the Rail Baltica line. The estimated axle load of the trains is 25 tons, the trains measure 1,050 meters in length. To facilitate goods traffic along the route, three big, multimodal terminals are being developed: in Muuga, Estonia, Salaspils, Latvia, and Palemonas, Lithuania. 80% of the freight trains along Rail Baltica are expected to be intermodal trains. This allows logistics operators to shift cargo from road to rail by putting containers and trucks onto wagons, which will essentially reduce air pollution and traffic volumes and enhance the overall safety in road transportation. (

Azerbaijan announces modernization of the North-South Corridor

Media report that the national railway company of Azerbaijan ADY announces plans to modernize the 167-kilometer section between Sumqayit, 30 km north of Baku, and Yalama at the Russian border. The project is to boost the development of the North-South Transport Corridor. The scope of the project comprises the modernization of the signal and electrification equipment, the increase of the master speed to 140 km/h, the modernization or renovation of 157 bridges and the reduction of the stations from 21 to 16.

75% of Eurasian goods went via Kazakhstan

The competitiveness of rail freight transported on wide gauge tracks increased in 2018 due to lower transport costs and shorter transit times, says the Eurasian Rail Alliance Index (ERAI) presented by UTLC. The figures state that in 2018, there were 370,000 TEU transported via rail between China and Europe, which means a 35% growth in the year-on-year comparison. Circa 75% of the total traffic volume were routed via Kazakhstan; the gross transit volume went up by 59% as compared to previous year. This is owed to an increase in trains from 2,167 to 3,384 and an increase in the average number of wagons per train.

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