PRESS OF UZBEKISTAN
August 29, 2016
BUKHARA IS THE NEXT DESTINATION
In the run-up to the 25th anniversary of Uzbekistan’s independence, the high-speed Afrosiyob train’s service along the Tashkent-Bukhara route has been initiated.
From the first years of independence, special attention has been paid under the leadership of the country’s President to creating a single national system of railways through the consistent development of railway transportation.
On the basis of long-term programmes and projects, large-scale reforms and creative work have been and are being implemented in this sphere. As a result, in the past 25 years, new railway lines were built, and the main transit sections were reconstructed and electrified. New routes were opened, new railways and train stations were built and existing ones were repaired.
The Navoiy-Uchquduq-Sultanuvaystag-Nukus railway laid through Qizilqum made it possible to link central and northern regions of the country. And a bridge built over the river Amudarya linked the Republic of Qoraqalpoghiston and Khorazm Region with other regions.
The Toshguzar-Boysun-Qumqorghon unique railway line, recognized as “the wonder of the century”, plays an important role in the socio-economic development of the southern regions.
The commissioning of the electrified railway line Angren-Pop along the Qamchiq pass and the Qamchiq tunnel, which is part of it, made it possible to link the regions of the Fergana valley with other regions of the country. This line serves as an important link of this new international railway transit corridor China-Central Asia-Europe.
Five years ago, on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the country’s independence, this high-speed train, the first in Central Asia and named Afrosiyob, started travelling along the Tashkent-Samarqand route. And then work in this sphere was continued in other areas. In 2015 the electrification of the Marakand-Karshi railway line was completed, and the Afrosiyob train began the rail service to Karshi.
In accordance with the presidential resolution dated 26 March 2015 on measures to implement a project of electrification of the Samarqand-Bukhara railway line and arranging high-speed train services, work was started last year on the reconstruction of existing railways and the construction of new railways and on the electrification of the Samarqand-Bukhara railway line.
This railway line is 259 km long. This project of nearly 400 million dollars was completed in a short space of time – within just 16 months. More than a thousand railway workers, builders and specialists worked hard in any weather conditions, overcoming natural obstacles, and completed the work well and within the set time-frame. More than 220 units of modern equipment and mechanisms were used in the construction work, and 16.2 million cubic meters of earth work was carried out.
In the 146 km long Marakand-Navoiy section, earth-fill work was carried out, and a new separate railway line was laid. The railway bed from Navoiy to Bukhara was completely reconstructed.
The timely supply of railway ties, fastenings and longitudinal joints made it possible to keep the stable pace of work and to complete it within the time frame. It is noteworthy that more than 6 thousand reinforced concrete piers and other materials used in the electrification of the line had been produced at local enterprises. On both sides of the main line, metal guardrails were installed for over 500 km.
Along the line, 220 artificial installations were built, including one pedestrian crossing, four flyovers and four bridges. For the uninterrupted supply of trains with electricity, four electric power stations were built and fitted out with modern equipment in the territory.
In Kattaqorghon, a new modern railway station building was constructed and provided with equipment that meets the modern requirements. It can provide services for 100 passengers at a time. A 400 meter long concrete platform was built.
Also, as part of the project and in accordance with today’s requirements, the Bukhara railway station was reconstructed. Instead of an old and unremarkable building there, a completely new grand building meeting international standards was constructed. It can provide services for 300 passengers. The complex has a bright big waiting hall, ticket offices, a baby care room and a medical station. A VIP hall for meeting and seeing off high-profile guests and tourists was also built.
The project was completed by the greatest and dearest holiday, that is Independence Day, and on 25th August, the high-speed Afrosiyob train started travelling between Tashkent and Bukhara. Labour veterans, railway workers and members of the public of Bukhara and Samarqand as well as young people were the first passengers.
“Great changes that have taken place in the railway system in the years of independence are really wonderful. Several years ago, the Sharq high-speed train started travelling between Bukhara and Tashkent, taking 10-12 hours to cover the distance. Thanks to this new train, the travel time was shortened by half, which is very convenient for residents of Bukhara. Until now it took us two days to visit the capital city and return to Bukhara. In the past, we travelled on a carriage on the 600 km route in cold winters and in the heat of summer, and by the time we reached our destination we were tired and exhausted. Compared with those conditions, Sharq seemed a miracle to us. Today our trains are as fast as the rapid pace of our country’s independent development. They are even faster and more comfy. May our country’s independence be forever, as it gave us this happiness and raised our honour and dignity!” says Farmon Aminov, a teacher at the Bukhara engineering -technology institute.
“Despite the train’s high speed, there is no noticeable shaking or noise inside. I and my companion are having tea, and not a drop of it has been spilt. According to the indicator board, the current speed is 250 km per hour. We look through the window. Outside, like in a movie, images of our beautiful scenery are flying past. Thanks to independence, our towns and villages are developing, and our dreams are coming true. Our ancestors’ unrealized dreams have become a reality today thanks to the policy of our country’s President. People and their interests are in the centre of this policy. We are grateful to the head of our state for bringing distance places close together and for creating prosperous, peaceful and calm living conditions for the people,” says the chief of a department of the Navoiazot joint-stock company, Shuhrat Jorayev.
The train departed from Tashkent at 0800 in the morning of 25 August, and 2 hours 8 minutes afterwards it was met ceremonially at the Samarqand railway station. At 1030 Afrosiyob together with members of the public from Samarqand Region who had joined it started its first voyage to Bukhara.
“The beginning of this Tashkent-Samarqand train service in 2011 and the creation of this great convenience for our compatriots help to develop tourism in our country even more. Today many tourists use Afrosiyob as with this train it is possible to come to Samarqand in the morning, look at tourist attractions and return to Tashkent in the evening. Undoubtedly, the initiation of this train service to Bukhara will increase the flow of tourists to this ancient and unique town,” says labour veteran from Samarqand, Zoir Ziyoyev.
Hitherto, train passengers spent 7-8 hours covering the distance between Tashkent and Bukhara, and now it is possible for them to reach their destination within 3 hours 20 minutes on a modern and comfy carriage.
“I was born and grew up in Bukhara. I have been living in Samarqand for 30 years already. In the past, railway transport passengers did not have such conditions as today’s. In those years, carriages were far from being their best. When I was a student, I had to travel even on a freight train. Although the distance between the two ancient cities is less than 300 km, covering this distance in the past involved big difficulties. The Afrosiyob train has brought these towns closer together, and it is a great gift for our people on the eve of the 25th anniversary of our Motherland,” says a professor of Samarqand state university, Shavkat Hasanov.
The train, going via prosperous towns and villages of Samarqand and Navoiy regions, where a festive atmosphere reigns, arrived at the Bukhara railway station at 1140.
Here, the train and its first passengers were met ceremonially by members of the public of Bukhara Region. Passengers disembarking from the train were joyous and happy and said words of gratitude and admiration. All of them congratulated each other and shared their impressions.
A ceremony took place at the Bukhara railway station, devoted to the beginning of the Afrosiyob high speed train’s service on the Tashkent-Bukhara-Tashkent route.
The first deputy hokim (governor) of Bukhara Region, M.Abdullayev; the chairman of the board of the Ozbekiston Temir Yollari (Uzbekistan railways), A.Rahmatov; and others congratulated all on this important event and the 25th anniversary of the Motherland’s independence.
It was said that reforms being implemented in the railway sphere of the country under the leadership of President Islam Karimov are giving their high results.
Participants in the event familiarized themselves with the new building of the railway station and with the conditions created there for passengers. A visit was arranged to tourist attractions of the town.
The same day, the Afrosiyob train made a return voyage from Bukhara to Tashkent.
In specialists’ opinion, as a result of the implementation of this project, the throughput capacity of the railway section rises by 36 per cent, and operational costs will decrease by the same amount. More than 200 new jobs have been created along the route.
With the beginning of the high-speed train service in this direction, the length of these kinds of railways in the country exceeded 700 km.
A deputy prime minister of Uzbekistan, B.Zokirov, made a speech at the event.