Tashkent: The Central Asian state of
Uzbekistan on Tuesday showcased the region`s first high-speed train
which will connect the capital Tashkent with the nation`s
second largest city of Samarkand.
Made by the Spanish train manufacturer Talgo, the train
will take passengers on the 344-kilometre journey in two hours
and 10 minutes at speeds reaching 254 kilometres per hour.
Under the deal worth 38 million euros (USD 55 million)
between the Uzbek state-run railway company Uzbekistan Temir
Yullari and Spain`s Patentes Talgo S.A. signed in 2009, the
Spanish company supplied the first Talgo AVE 250 train on July
The second train is expected next month.
"Thanks to the personal initiative of President Islam
Karimov this project was implemented in our country and is the
only of its kind in Central Asia," a deputy Prime Minister
Batyr Khodjayev told journalists in the Uzbek capital
The line is scheduled to open in early September.
Named after Afrasiyab, the oldest part of the ancient and
medieval city of Samarkand, the high-speed rail link will
boost the tourism industry in Uzbekistan, which is rich in
ancient history, officials hope.
Two VIP cars in the 8-car train offer passengers giant
leather seats, free cold drinks, hot meals and Uzbek wine and
cognac at the ticket price of USD 46 one way.
Uzbekistan upgraded its Soviet-era rail road
infrastructure at the total cost of USD 116.8 million.
The Uzbek railways said with the assistance from the
Asian Development Bank, it plans to open similar routes to
another ancient city, Bukhara.
The train`s first ride last week took officials and
foreign dignitaries to the opening ceremony of the
international festival of Oriental Melodies in the Silk Route
city of Samarkand, Uzbekistan`s second largest city.