The Rail Deal for Central Asia
Even Turkmenistan has been swept up the railway route-opening trend.
It is an exciting time to be a railway enthusiast in Central Asia.
Routes have traditionally wended south to north, tying the region to Russia, where the center of geopolitical influence once lay.
This is changing in two big ways. Some projects are flipping the axis of travel from east to west, bridging the expanse of Eurasia. In the meantime, governments are also understanding the importance of small, local connections in lifting their nations out of isolation.
Such sweeping visions however, may yet get snarled up in red tape and hogtied by poor coordination, experts say. And there may not be enough money to go around.
Much of the political and economic energy behind much of this broad trend is coming from China and its era-defining Belt and Road initiative — a catch-all term to describe a trillion-dollar string of sea and land infrastructure projects across Eurasia.
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