LONDON (April 21 2008): Rail enthusiasts looking for adventure will be able to travel by train from London to Dhaka when a new link opens later this year. The 7,000-mile Trans-Asia railway will follow one of the old Silk Roads through Istanbul, Tehran, Lahore and Delhi and the whole journey will take 23 days to complete, reports The Sunday Times.
It is already being described by train buffs as ‘the world’s greatest railway journey’ and will be longer than the Trans-Siberian railway, which spans 5,772 miles, the paper added.
Under a UN-sponsored scheme, Pakistan and Iran will link up their lines in the coming months to join the sub-continent’s track to that of Europe for the first time.
The UN said the link would open up new trade routes within Asia and give the former Soviet republics of central Asia rail access to Iran’s strategic seaport at Bandar Abbas in the Gulf.
The route was extended when the Kolkata to Dhaka line reopened earlier this month, more than 40 years after it was blocked during the Indo-Pak war of 1965.
The paper said last week, senior Indian officials met their Iranian counterparts in Tehran to discuss progress. It said that India has already earmarked 90 million pounds to extend its vast rail network towards its border with Burma. From there just 218 miles of missing track stands in the way of an overland rail journey from London to Singapore.
An intrepid traveller will soon be able to leave London for Brussels, Cologne, Vienna, Bucharest, Istanbul, Tehran, Quetta, Lahore, Amritsar, Delhi and Kolkata before reaching the end of the line in Dhaka.