ADB Approves Funds for Electrification of Bukhara - Urgench - Khiva Railway
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $162 million loan that will electrify 465 kilometers of railway line connecting major urban centers in western Uzbekistan.
The project will electrify the railway connecting Bukhara, Miskin, Urgench and Khiva, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Khorezm region. The electrified section will allow the organization of high-speed trains. For example, the travel time between Bukhara and Khiva will be reduced by two hours, and a trip to Khiva from the capital Tashkent will be possible in seven hours.
“Reliable and safe transport infrastructure is a key driver of economic growth, particularly in double landlocked Uzbekistan,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov. The ADB project will help create an economic corridor linking the heritage-rich Khorezm region to the rest of Uzbekistan.
This project is also part of the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Corridor 2 program, which connects China with Europe through Central Asia. By increasing the frequency and quality of railway communication, it will contribute to improving communication and trade with neighboring countries.
According to Hidemi Iwasami, ADB Director for Transport and Communications in Central and West Asia, the beneficial impact of the project extends not only to tourism, but also to industry and agriculture, and will also contribute to Uzbekistan's transition to low-carbon transport by switching trains from diesel to electric, which will allow the country to fulfill its obligations under the Paris Agreement.
Once the Bukhara to Khiva line is electrified, annual passenger traffic is expected to increase from around 280,000 passengers this year to more than 1,000,000 passengers by 2026. Freight is projected to reach a total of 11.8 million tons per year by 2026.
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