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The Iraqi National Rail Company announced on Sunday that under its supervision the urban rail project in the Iraqi capital will be completed in 2013..
According to AKnews, the company’s press secretary, Jawad Kharsani, said the project will be carried out in conjunction with the French company Tharyom (sic) [Iraq Business News believes it to be the French company Systra].
"The railway will start from the eastern Baghdad district of Ahzamya, cut through Utaifiyya and end at the central station in the Alawi neighborhood," he explained.
Kharsani said the railway will have sub-stations above the ground in residential areas where electronic tickets will be available.
The French company will oversee the technical work and the trains will be managed by its staff in exchange for the revenues from the line for 20 years, before handing it back to Baghdad council, he said.
The 25km rail project will ease the traffic in Baghdad by 50%, Khasrani said.
"The Ministry of Transport will work to repeat the experience of this project in all Iraqi provinces,” he said.
Asked when work on the project would begin, Khasrani said that, "the final cost of the project will determine the timing of the French company’s arrival in Baghdad.”
Baghdad’s traffic jams have been attributed to the large number of security checkpoints and increasing numbers of vehicles on streets that desperately need to be expanded.