With the first Mumbai-to-Moscow train scheduled to chug through Azerbaijan this August, railways seem set to become the new oil for the Caspian Sea nation.
Better known for a wealth of energy and a lack of regard for civil rights, Azerbaijan is now on track to become an international railway turnpike. The country has been developing railway routes north, west and south amidst the oil-price crisis, which severely cut into the country’s petro-income.
So far, the India-Russia railway project is not a fully rail-based route, rather a rail-sea-road-rail-shipment arrangement. Goods coming by rail from Mumbai will be ferried to the Iranian port of Bandar Abbas in the Persian Gulf, then carried north across Iran by rail to the city of Rasht. Trucks will carry the load to the Azerbaijani border town of Astara, and then a train will carry it to Moscow, said Javid Gurbanov, chairperson of Azerbaijan Railways.
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