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    NEW RAILWAY ROUTES TO LINK RUSSIA AND TAJIKISTAN

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    DYUSHAMBE, March 12, 2004. (RIA Novosti) - Russia and Tajikistan will be linked by new railway routes. Since June 1, traffic will be opened between Khudzhand and Saratov through the Tajik city of Bekabad and further along the route of Dyushambe-Astrakhan. So far, there will be only one train a week on this route.

    Deputy chief of the passenger traffic department of the Tajik Railway Alexander Andrianov said on Friday that later, depending on the number of passengers, the possibility will be considered of increasing the intensity of the traffic between Khudzhand and Saratov on the Volga River.

    According to him, it has also been planned to open railway traffic between Khudzhand and Chelyabinsk in the South Urals. Today, two railway routes link Russia and Tajikistan: between Dyushambe and Astrakhan (in the Volga delta) and between Kulyab and Astrakhan, Andrianov said.

    A spokesman for the Tajik Railway secretariat said that this railway was the first in the CIS to introduce the Express-3 traffic regulation automated system which makes it possible for passengers to receive information about all passenger trains on local and international routes, to buy tickets to any station in the CIS countries with changing to transit trains, and to buy return tickets. The secretariat spokesman said that now it takes only about two minutes to buy a ticket.

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