Iraq operates two high-speed Chinese trains; Iraqis celebrate as they stop at stations

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By Shaymaa Adel

Azzaman, May 22, 2014

Iraq has added two high-speed Chinese trains in latest bid to modernize its old and rickety railways.

The diesel-driven trains are used to carry passengers between Basra and Baghdad and Iraqis lined the pavements to celebrate their arrival and stops during their inauguration trip.

Karim Nouri, the spokesperson for the Ministry of Transport, said the two trains are part of a deal under which China’s Dongfang Electric Corporation is to deliver 13 more trains to Iraq.

“The trains are capable of 150 kilometers per hour but maximum speed allowed will be 100 kilometers per hour because Iraqi railway system is not modern enough to stand such a high speed,” said Nouri.

“The Chinese-made trains are of a very high quality. They are supplied with Wi Fi, remote control cameras and modern amenities,” he said.

The deal with China is for the purchase of 15 trains at a cost of $140 million, Nouri added.

The two trains on the Basra-Baghdad line, the busiest in the country, will make four journeys a day.