YEREVAN, June 18. / ARKA /. Chief of state-owned Russian Railways (RR) Vladimir Yakunin said today in Yerevan that the South Caucasus Railways, RR’s subsidiary operating Armenian railroads is ready for resuming the operation of a railway stretching from Armenian Gyumri to Turkish Kars across the border.
He said what is missing is a political will.
According to Yakunin, that the infrastructure on the Armenian side is fully ready for reviving the railway was confirmed by a Turkish business delegation that visited Gyumri at the invitation of the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Armenia.
As for the differences in rail gauges, Yakunin said it is a technical problem that could be resolved easily without requiring much time.
The railway from Kars to Gyumri was built during the time of the Russian Empire. On October 11, 1961 the former USRR and Turkey signed an agreement on direct rail transport. The last train from Turkey crossed into Armenia in 1993 July.
Relations between Armenia and Turkey remain tense because of Ankara’s biased stance on Karabakh problem and its painful reaction to Armenia’s efforts to obtain worldwide recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
South Caucasus Railways is a 100% subsidiary of state-run Russian Railways that was awarded a concesional management of SCR. The 30 year contract was signed in 2008. It can be prolonged for another 10 years. -0-