Railway electrification in Iran

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Tehran-Mashhad Railway Electrification (TMRE)
Iran railway en.png
Railway network in Iran
SystemElectric railway
StatusElectrification started February 2012
Stations49, train length 700 m (35 ch)
Services80% passenger, 20% freight
Daily ridership50 million pass. 12 million frgh
Rolling stock6 MW
Line length926 double track, UIC 60, CWR 98%
Track length2,200 km (1,367 mi)
Number of tracks2 (4 track, 114 km tehran garmsar)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Loading gaugeAxle Load = 22.5 ton
Electrification25 kV AC 50 Hz
Operating speed200 km/h (124 mph) pass. trains, 250 km/h (155 mph) tilting trains
Highest elevation826–1,666 metres (2,710–5,466 ft)

Railway electrification in Iran describes the past and present electrification systems used to supply traction current to rail transport in Iran with a chronological record of development, a list of lines using each system, and a history and a technical description of each system.

The project is sometimes abbreviated to RAIELEC,[1] in which RAI is the abbreviation of Islamic Republic of Iran Railways (Persian: برقی کردن راه آهن در ایران, abbr: بكرا).

Early electrification: Tabriz-Jolfa[edit]

Azarbayejan Area.jpg
Type and origin
Power typeElectric
Build date1979-1980
 • UICBo-Bo
Gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Wheel diameter1,200 mm (3 ft 11 in)
Wheelbase2,500 mm (8 ft 2 in)
Length16,000 mm (52 ft 6 in)
Width2,800 mm (9 ft 2 in)
Height3,960 mm (13 ft 0 in)
Loco weight80 metric tons (79 long tons; 88 short tons)
Electric system/s25 kV AC catenary
Current pickup(s)Pantograph
Traction motorsDC
Performance figures
Maximum speed100 km/h (62 mph)
Power output3,600 kW (4,800 hp)
Tractive effort240 kN (54,000 lbf)
Number in class8
Dispositionin service

After initial negotiations in 1969, railway electrification in Iran started in 1975, with a contract with USSR to electrify the Tabriz to Jolfa route in East Azarbaijan Province near the border with the former Soviet Union. The work would include a Bogie exchange facility. The Tabriz-Jolfa line was originally established in 1916 (before the main network in 1938) with the wide gauge 1,524 mm (5 ft) and was changed to standard gauge after connection of Tabriz to the national network. Tabriz-Jolfa is a single line rail track 146 km long with nine stations in between. The maximum grade is 2.8% and the minimum curve radius is 400m.The catenary voltage is 25kV with booster transformer.Three substations exist: in Tabriz, Marand and Jolfa with 4 or 3 single phase transformers from Alstom each having 15 MW of capacity supplying the power.

The 8 locomotives used on this line with Bo-Bo configuration have been built by ASEA from Sweden based on RC4 type from SJ Rc family.

Electrification specification[edit]

The electric line voltage is 25 kV, 50 Hz, ( 25 kV AC railway electrification) with substations in Tabriz, Marand and Jolfa fed by 132 kV from the national grid. The end substations have three 15MW transformer and the Marand substation has four transformers.

Rank Year Orig. Dest. Dis. Voltage, kV power, MW SS Dis., Km Speed., Km/h mast D., m stagger len., m pant. w., m mast C., m Height., m Block l., m Wire mm^2 Tens., Kn Reg. brk.
1  Iran 1976 kampsax standard 25 10-15 160 70 0.4 1.9 3.0 5-6 1500 107 10-12
1  Iran 1985 Tabriz Jolfa 146 25 15 70 100 50 3 5.2 1200 100 1500 0
2  Iran 1997 Tehran Karaj 35 2^25 63 60 140 55 3.2 5.2 1200 120 1500 1
3  Iran 2010 Tabriz Azarshahr 46 25 15 140 55 3.2 5.2 1200 100 1500
4  Iran 2012 Tehran Mashhad 926 2^25 50 90 250 68 3.5 6.2 1300 120 2000 1
4  Iran 2014 Tehran Tabriz 630 2^25 25 90 250 68 3.5 6.2 1300 120 2000 1

Track specification[edit]

Track specifications in current and planned electrified lines in Iran are as follows:

Rank Year Orig. Dest. Dis. Tunnel Stations D.T.% T.C. Dis. clear. Height clear. Width Train Length Train Load Axle load Leaner Load rail weight Con. Weld Min. Curve Max. Grade Max. Speed Station Speed Train control
1 1891 tabriz jolfa 146 0.1 7 0 4.7 3 400 2000 20 6 46-60 400 28 100 60
2 1956 Tehran mashhad 926 0 49 100 4.75 5.7 3.5 750 3500 22.5 7 60 95% 700 15 250 80 ETCS 2
3 1928 Ahvaz Tehran 62 816 45 20 4.5 4.7 3.1 420 2000 20 6.5 46-60 30 250 15 160 60

Operational information[edit]

country Year Orig. Dest. Dis. D.Track % train cap. Train Length Train weight passenger freight Pass. A.S. frt. A.S. T.P. demand T.F. demand Max. Speed max P.C. Max F.C.
Iran 1957 Tehran Mashhad 926 100 60^2 750 3500 13 2 80 30 50 10 160 50 10
Iran 1993 Bafgh Bandarabbas 630 75 30^2 1500 7000 2 10 90 35 4 60 160 5 100

Recent projects[edit]

Pilot projects[edit]

Recently another contract was signed with the Russian railway RZD in February 2009[2] to connect the Tabriz electric line to Azarshahr to the south with a length of 46 km single track with 140 km/h speed that was inaugurated in 2012 Oct. 13th.[3]

Continuing the line to Bonab and Maragheh and possibly to Urmia through the Shahid Kalantary bridge is planned. The bridge has the rail track integrated, like Oresund Bridge.The existing electric line could be connected to Oroumieh and Maragheh.

Also Shabestar and Salmas, relying on existing facilities and locomotives will be electrified. On the northern route it is planned to connect Soofian to Shabestar and Salmas.

Main project[edit]

A tender[4] for electrification of the Tehran-Mashhad double track line, would supply 70 electric locomotives with cab signaling that will increase the speed to 200 km/h for passenger car trains and 250 km/h for tilting trains like Talgo.

Electric trains will reduce the existing journey time from 12 hours down to 6 hours and Multiple Train Units (EMUs) from existing 8 hours to less than 5 hours.

The line is equipped with Optical fiber communication and CTC center for railway signal. This project as well as electrification and locomotives, also includes SCADA, 5 years maintenance, and back up power generation. The contract includes dual mode vehicles for maintenance. A ceremonial construction start for the Tehran-Mashhad electrification took place on 1 February 2012. The completion is expected in 2014.[5]

Second passenger projects[edit]

It is planned to expand electrification to the northwest up to the existing line at Tabriz (with 200 km/h speed for passenger trains and 250 for tilting EMU or trains like Railjet[citation needed]) that is part of Silk Road and the transit route from Almaty to Istanbul and Islamabad to Istanbul as one of main task and objectives of ECO Economic Cooperation Organization and one of the emphasized routes of ESCAP United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

The first phase of this project will be from Tehran to Zanjan to make it more economic and also to prepare the new under construction includes straightening the route from Tabriz to Mianeh that will decrease the distance from Tehran to Tabriz about 100 km and for this stepwise plan dual mode or Electro-diesel locomotive could help justifying the project.

Recent inauguration of a 4 track 'cut and cover' 9 km railway line in Tehran west railway to Tabriz has made the project more feasible.

In the beginning of 2012 a 5-member consortium was formed and proposed to do the project as BOT base.

Future projects[edit]

Effects on stations[edit]

The layout of stations in Iran such as Tehran and Mashhad train stations will be affected[specify] by electrification. The railway platform in other stations could be extended in the future.


Existing Electric locomotives[edit]

The locomotives in Tabriz-Jolfa has been built by ASEA based on Sweden type RC4 from SJ Rc family with 3600 KW and 100 km/h. Eight units are in operation.

The locomotives in Tehran-Karaj metro is TM1, TM2, TM3 similar to SS8 with 3200 KW and 140 km/h from Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Works, China, counting for 56 units.

New locomotive specification[edit]

Passenger locomotives (type Bo′Bo′ according to UIC classification of locomotive axle arrangements) shall provide a continuous tractive effort of more than 240 kN, freight locomotives (Co′Co′) more than 480 kN and all weather adhesion shall be at least 33%. Passenger locomotives shall be equipped to provide head end power (HEP) to the train.

The locomotive prototype shall be available 6 months before inauguration to allow for the homologation phase. A mockup and pilot experiment for EMUs could be used to expedite the accepting process.

Common platform locomotive[edit]

One of the major bottleneck to start operation of an electrified line in countries like Iran with rare electric track is to use the concept of a Common platform locomotive like TRAXX[6] from Bombardier that makes the supply phase faster and more cost effective. This capability has been considered in Iranian Railways AD43C that is originally diesel electric but can be converted to electric locomotive. This capability has not been considered in IranRunner. [6][permanent dead link]

Dual mode locomotive[edit]

Another solution is using dual mode locomotives for stepwise electrification. Electro-diesel locomotive

Locomotive approval test[edit]

The locomotive test and approval, homologation would be done according to RAI, UIC, AAR, TTCI Transportation Technology Center[7] and like SNCF Class BB 75000.

Tendering process[edit]

The initial study was done by RAI vice president for planning and international affairs in 2003 specially by calculating the benefit of electrification in locomotive saving in long passenger trains that was argued by the railway research center MATRAI. After convincing the top managers and management and planning organization (MPO), it was approved by the government to make a feasibility study for electrification and this was accepted by the parliament in 2007.

The study was carried out by a joint of Metra and Italferr according to United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and FIDIC recommendations and Tehran—Mashhad was assigned as the first priority for being electrified. After this phase the tendering pre-qualification was prepared by a new joint venture of Metra and Systra and the request for proposal (RFP) was released with conceptual design and by result obligations.

Electrification history[edit]

Although railway electrification in Iran was started in 1975 it grounded down to a halt and stayed so 30 years. A contract for electrification of the Tehran-Mashhad double-track line and the supply of 70 electric locomotives was awarded in 2009.[8] Speeds of up to 200 km/h for locomotive-hauled passenger trains and 250 km/h for tilting EMUs will reduce existing journey times of 7.5 to 12 to less than 5 hours.

Tehran Metro line 5[edit]

One of the Electric railways in Iran is Line 5 of metro that uses 25 KV OCS and is operated by Tehran Metro.

On 7 March 1999, an overland Tehran-Karaj express electric train started a limited service of 31.4 km between Azadi Square (Tehran) and Malard (Karaj) calling at one intermediate station at Vardavard. The line was constructed by the Chinese company NORINCO.

Double-deck passenger cars for the Tehran-Karaj commuter line are supplied by CNTIC and assembled by the Wagon Pars factory in Arak.

Locomotives of this line is similar to SS8 and has been supplied by CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Works

Electrification projects[edit]

A brief study was done to prepare a Comprehensive planning for electrification development in RAI.

Route Length traffic 2011 fuel saving Date Max. speed
origin-destination km million million liter year km/h
Tehran-Mashhad 926 20 pass. +5 frt. 250 2012 250
Tehran-Bandarabbas 1350 10 pass. + 60 frt. 4000 2014 160
Tehran-Tabriz 600 20 pass. + 5 frt. 100 2014 250
Chadormaloo-Ardakan 220 1pass. + 10frt. 100 2011 120

Electrification projects map[edit]




Comprehensive Transport Study of Iran[edit]

Parallel to the dynamic and flexible policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran regarding socio-economic development plan, Comprehensive Transportation Studies of Iran Comprehensive Transportation Studies of Iran (CTSI), has been implemented to design an optimum and multilateral transportation system best in order to satisfy economical and secure movement of goods and passengers. The overall target of this plan is to prepare a program including reports and studies that comprises the main strategies for leading the Islamic Republic of Iran’s transportation system as well as determining the priorities of allocating resources by considering the existing policies, criteria, necessities and priorities. Hence, the CTSI project is planned for achieving an optimum transportation system based on betterment of current situation and presenting investment priorities of transportation infrastructures in a twenty-year outlook in order to provide means for economical and secure movement of goods and passengers with a constant view to economic, social and cultural development plan policies of country.[9]

Freight projects[edit]

On the freight corridor, the electrification of Bafgh—Bandarabbas in Persian Gulf is planned as a Build-Operate-Transfer project with future continuation to Tehran and Intermodal freight transport at both ends (like Betuweroute) plus a Classification yard.

Bandar Abbas is close to Gheshm Island that has 100 km length and could be connected by bridge.[10] This line might also transport oil.

Iron ore is one of the main commodities on this line, especially from Golgohar mine near Sirjan, Choghart and Chadormaloo near Bafgh to Isfahan for two steel plants and steel mills named Zobahan (Esfahan Steel Company) and Mobarakeh.

As the rail connection with Zahedan will be inaugurated in near future, it will make it possible to have a direct transit line from Central Asia to Pakistan and India possibly with variable gauge bogies and could be completed with a link to Chabahar port in the south east of the country.

The business plan to justify the electrification and supplying locomotives is going to be prepared.

Electrification investment[edit]

Transport demand is increased more than GDP in freight and less than it in passenger sector, and it is essential to provide appropriate means for transport by investing in infrastructures. Multiple structures have been considered, including BOT[11] similar to Taiwan High Speed Rail as a Public-private partnership(PPP) type investment. as well as high speed trains investment to buy AGV by Italian company Nuovo Trasporto Viaggiatori(NTV).

Transit-oriented development(TOD) is also an approach that could be used mainly from urban areas in railway stations.

Pacific Railroad Acts is a good benchmark for encouraging private sector for investment in railway network expansion programs.

Effects of electrification on stations[edit]

Electrification causes increased capacity of railway so the Railway station layout changes accordingly. some of Railway stations in Iran are suitable for electrification, specially those that have been constructed after the Islamic revolution.

External cost[edit]

The external cost of railway is lower than other modes of transport but the electrification brings down it even more, if it is sustainable.

This is specially due to railway safety relative to Road traffic safety, considering the Value of life.[12] Also energy from well to wheel, and the necessity to reduce pollutions and greenhouse gas in earth according to the Kyoto Protocol. The new approach to manage the CO2 is carbon credit.

Electrification effect on CDM[edit]

One of the results of electrification is Clean Development Mechanism, for carbon dioxide reduction. The Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) is one of the flexibility mechanisms defined in the Kyoto Protocol

Electrification effect on TOD[edit]

Transit Oriented Development or TOD is one of major concepts that has been considered to promote the presence of railway, Metro and other modes of city transport in through increasing the interaction of transit by hoteling, marketing, services, housing.

Electrification standards[edit]

Some of main UIC standards in railway electrification are:

UIC 791-1, Maintenance guidelines for overhead contact lines

UIC 799, Characteristics of a.c. overhead contact systems for high-speed lines worked at speeds of over 200 km/h

And European union codes like:

En-50119, Cenelec standard Railway Electric Traction Contact-Lines

EN 15227 about the Crashworthiness requirements for railway vehicle bodies

IEC 61133- Rules for testing of electric locomotive

The first electrification standard for Iran was prepared by Kampsax(COWI) in 1977 as part of a general standard.

Electrification industries[edit]

IDRO Industrial Development and Renovation Organization of Iran as a developing organization is responsible to develop the industry sector and to accelerate the industrialization process of the country. It has become one of the largest Iranian holding company/conglomerate (company) in recent years.

Iranian railway industry are either belonging to IDRO or private sector and the electrification industries among them are like: Tam (irankhodro), Sanam, Irantransfo.

Electrification consultants[edit]

Because of short history of railway electrification and suburb metro with 25KV there are not so many consultants for this in Iran, but some of them are METRA, Imer, Moshanir, Harazrah, Iranoston, Araco(Azarakhsh rail Aria).

Electrification railway Maps[edit]

Some of suitable railway map sources with infrastructure and speed classification as well as topographic contours are as follows:




Electrification cost[edit]

The Electrification cost as part of railway prices and costs[13] depends on the speed or the class of the track like Speed limits in the United States (rail). In 1984 the world bank's Railways and Energy report provided estimates of typical costs.[14]

According to the book of Prices and Costs in the railway sector by Professor Baumgartner from Switzerland[15] the rough estimation of traction substation cost is 0.2 million euro per megavolt amper and 0.2 million euro per km of line with 300 km/h and 0.15 for 100 km/h.[16]

Import Tariff[edit]

Tariff of electrification equipment in Iran is 5% for locomotive and machineries.

Electrification Right-of-way[edit]

Right-of-way in railway in Iran is 35m but with electrification needs to be increased for higher speed and safety reasons.

Railway Electrification Education[edit]

For higher education, it is considered to have MS level in railway faculty in IRAN University of science and technology.[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Railway electrification".
  2. ^ http://eng.rzd.ru/statice/public/rzdeng?STRUCTURE_ID=4167
  3. ^ http://www.railwaygazette.com/news/projects-infrastructure/single-view/view/azarshahr-electrification-inaugurated.html
  4. ^ International Tender Advice / Electrification Project of Tehran-Mashhad Double-Track Railway Route along with procuring electrical locomotives of the project
  5. ^ Tehran - Mashhad electrification project launched
  6. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-28. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "Tehran - Mashhad electrification contract". Railway Gazette International. 4 March 2009. Archived from the original on 13 August 2012.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-10-08. Retrieved 2010-06-04.
  10. ^ "Austrians to Construct Persian Gulf Bridge to Connect Qeshm Island to the Main Island". Retrieved 2010-12-27.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2009-12-10.
  12. ^ "Motor Vehicle Accident Costs".
  13. ^ http://litep.epfl.ch/files/content/sites/litep/files/shared/Liens/Downloads/Divers/Baumgartner_Couts_chf_2001_e.pdf
  14. ^ [2]
  15. ^ [3]
  16. ^ [4]
  17. ^ [5]

Further reading[edit]

Free Railway Electrification book in ARACO library [7]

PDF free download possible in google site: [8]

also in raielec group in yahoo:[9]

External links[edit]