Iraq looks to France for Baghdad elevated train project

Officials hope the elevated train project will reduce traffic accidents and pollution in Baghdad. [Ceerwan Aziz / Reuters]

Officials hope the elevated train project will reduce traffic accidents and pollution in Baghdad. [Ceerwan Aziz / Reuters]

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Iraq seeks to attract French companies to bid on the Baghdad elevated train project that will connect the main areas of the capital.

"The Baghdad elevated train project is very important given that it will considerably help ease traffic congestion on road networks in the capital," Baghdad Provincial Council chairman Kamil al-Zaidi told Mawtani. "It will make it possible for citizens to move around the areas of Baghdad easily without any delay."

Iraq wants to execute the train project according to the musataha leasing system, whereby one party has the legal right to lease and build for a fixed number of years. Under the system, both the company and Baghdad province will earn annual profits from the project, which will be transferred to the Iraqi state after 20 years.

The elevated train will also limit the use of fuel-operated vehicles, thus reducing environmental pollution. Reducing the number of cars on the road could also reduce the number of traffic accidents in the city.

Baghdad province sent an official delegation to Paris last week to examine the experience and expertise of French companies in building such projects.

The delegation consisted of Baghdad Deputy Governor Mohammed al-Shemari and representatives from the Iraqi parliament, al-Rasafa traffic directorate, Amanat Baghdad, the Public Roads Directorate and Baghdad Investment Commission, as well as a number of engineers and technicians.

Upon their return, the delegation members will submit a report to the provincial council presenting the results of their visit and the details of their consultations with French companies.

According to initial studies conducted by Baghdad Provincial Council, the trains will consist of four-to-six cars with a capacity of 250 passengers each. The maximum speed of the train will be 90 kilometers per hour and it will stay for about two minutes at each stop.

The train will move on 25-km long elevated tracks in two directions: the first will include seven areas -- al-Allawi, Bab al-Muazim, al-Adhamiya, al-Kadhumiya, al-Shaab, al-Ateefiya and al-Sadr City.

The other direction, which will be the second stage of the project, will include the areas of al-Jihad, al-Bayam al-Saydiya, al-Dorra and al-Zafaraniya.

Meanwhile, 15 dunams of land has already been allocated near al-Muthanna Airport in central Baghdad for constructing the first stop for the project. It will be the main hub for moving around the areas and neighborhoods of the capital.

Iraqi officials expect that the project will be completed by the end of 2013 if it is started by mid-2011. They also confirm that its annual revenues may exceed 86 billion dinars.

The estimated cost of the elevated train is $500 million, at a rate of $20 million per kilometer for the tracks, cars and all stops that will be built.

"The most important thing that distinguishes the elevated train project is the speed of its execution and its cost, which is less than the subway project that is executed underground," said Jawad al-Kharasani, media official at the Iraqi Ministry of Transportation's Public Railway Company.

Al-Kharasani said that upon the completion of the project, his company would train personnel to operate this kind of advanced train.

Baghdad residents encouraged the authorities to move ahead with the project.

"This means of transportation has considerably helped ease the problem of pedestrian and vehicle congestion on public streets and roads in other countries," said Amer Taqi, 34. "It has also helped citizens get to their destination quickly."

Salah Mahdi, 44, pointed out the urgency of improving transportation in Baghdad.

"The execution of these projects has now become an urgent need to ease traffic congestion resulting from the increasing population density in the capital and the spread of large numbers of cars," he said.

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  • READER COMMENTS

    hashim

    2012-1-21

    Peace be upon you…. we do not need this outdated train.

  • لبخاتي

    2011-12-17

    Where is the metro line? Is there any alternative to the metro?

  • محمد الجميلي

    2011-8-4

    We thank those who participate in developing the infrastructure and we wish them more unique progress.

  • فرحان جودت

    2011-6-3

    The congestion that exists in the streets of Baghdad is the result of importing a lot of cars that cause traffic jams and make the Iraqi citizens suffer a lot of inconvenience, especially in the scorching summer, which affects the Iraqi citizens. It is very important to stop imports and regulate this process. The closed streets should also be opened in Baghdad, and overpasses should be built, which will contribute much to solving the crisis and the issue of traffic congestion. Paying the prices of old vehicles in installments and compensating their owners with amounts of money so they can buy new cars will also contribute to the reduction of traffic jams that are found in the streets of Baghdad and all of Iraq. There should be more discipline in the importation, which has become easy, and a lot of traders import cars without taking into account the fact that this might harm the streets of Baghdad. Therefore, its results will be not good and will cause a lot of damage to the Iraqi people. All the streets that were closed by the government should be opened, and the government should play a significant role in resolving this issue, in order for the citizens to feel more free and be able to drive in the streets of Baghdad without congestion and traffic jams, waiting a long time in front of the checkpoints, as a result of the large number of vehicles in Baghdad and all of Iraq. Therefore, the import must be controlled and regulations must be developed to avoid congestion in all parts of Iraq, especially in the province of Baghdad, because the Iraqi citizens are suffering from severe congestion, particularly in times of working hours in the morning and at the end of official working hours of departments, universities and institutes.

  • صديق

    2011-5-31

    I want to complain of the many traffic congestions in the streets which are not under control; there are traffic congestions due to the large number of imported cars coming from abroad. These congestions are dangerous, because the terrorists are cowards and want to take advantage of any opportunity in order to commit criminal acts, such as blowing themselves up in the crowded streets to worsen the situation. I call on the General Traffic Directorate to control the streets more than in the past. In the past and in the absence of this large number of cars, we suffered from congestions; but now, after the entry of those cars, it has become worse. In Ramadi, when a large number of cars filled the street, we noticed a sudden change in the streets due to those congestions. Those modern cars sometimes cause suspicion, because some of the terrorists kill the owners of these cars and blow them up amidst large numbers of innocent people, and thus we sacrifice our loved ones because of modern cars. We want to make Iraq better than it is now. I want the General Directorate of Traffic to find a quick solution, in cooperation with the Ministry of Transport and Communications. At the same time, I want to complain of this illegal situation, because the Iraqi street suffers lawlessness in terms of safety and security and in terms of traffic congestion, because of the lack of control over the import of those cars. All traders are working for their own interests. I really hope my complaint will reach the honorable officials so they can find us a solution quickly, to get rid of the congestion and to solve those problems. I want to tell you that the congestion is very serious and leads to the loss of the lives of many people, because of accidents and despicable bombings by the cowardly terrorists. I insist on this complaint and want the Iraqi government to hear us for once, for Iraq to be stable and free of problems forever.

  • نضال

    2011-2-14

    I am a graduate from the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture Department. I call on the government, on behalf of all my session’s graduates, to provide us with job opportunities, because we could not find any government official to welcome us so that we could find a job in one of the government’s architecture departments. In fact, we studied this subject in order to develop and reconstruct our country. I wonder whether it is possible for us to be given an opportunity to prove ourselves and practice architecture inside our country. In addition, if the government is not able to employ our session’s graduates, or those of last year and of the coming year, I wonder what the solution is and what the destiny of future generations of students of architecture will be. Thus, the government must provide job opportunities for all graduates, or at least for the elite, or for some of them.

  • باسم

    2011-2-14

    Iraq is still underdeveloped in the transportation sector. It did not introduce modern methods which could play a role in the progress of the country and decrease the traffic jams, mainly since the population has increased and Iraq is going through a critical situation, namely security and the lack of services. In fact, the latter has led to aggravated congestion. Thus, I think that we need to develop the transportation sector in the country. The Ministry of Transportation must play the role required from it in order to improve this sector. Indeed, we are still using outdated means of transport, such as big and small buses as well as taxis. Such means are either insufficient or outdated to solve the problem of traffic jams and the population increase. I wonder when we will follow European or some Arab countries in using modern means of transport, namely metros and overhead railways. Such means of transport will play a significant role in reviving the economy and decreasing the demand for gas and oil. In fact, most employees, students and workers will definitely use such profitable trains if they are in use permanently, their networks are evenly distributed, and they reach all regions. In addition, I believe that any employee, student or worker will feel comfortable using overhead railways and metros, since they will not have to bother with finding places to park their cars. Besides, they will avoid traffic jams and checkpoints that are present on all Iraqi streets. Therefore, I call for introducing such modern technology in the country’s public transportation sector.

  • قصي عبدالحميد

    2011-2-14

    We have been hearing a lot about projects of overhead railways for many years, but they have not been implemented or even started so far. I wonder when we will see modern and fast means of transportation in Iraq. In fact, we are still making use of outdated ones. They are filling our streets and have become a heavy burden for Iraq. Besides, many citizens are using their cars to get to their destination because they no longer feel comfortable in such outdated means of transportation. As a matter of fact, I hope that overhead railways and metro stations will be introduced, because they are important and necessary in this particular stage.

  • مهد

    2011-2-14

    The overhead railway project must start in Baghdad as soon as possible, because it is the capital and it suffers from great congestion. In fact, this project is the only and ideal solution, especially since government officials are recognize the problems that Iraqis are suffering every day because of traffic congestion. Thus, they must allocate budgets and introduce companies with whom they will contract to start working as soon as possible.

  • يحيى

    2011-2-14

    The Iraqi capital of Baghdad is suffering from a big calamity, namely traffic jams, in all the streets of the capital, which cause a lot of delays in meeting the needs of the people of Baghdad in all fields. In addition, people spend most of the time inside their cars, jammed in the streets of the capital, because of the traffic congestion. The citizens can hardly reach their destinations after hardship and a long wait, especially in the summer, when there is the heat of the scorching sun and the heat of cars and high-density gases emitted from these cars, which move very slowly. To find the best solution to this problem, I believe that the government should remove the concrete barriers that fill the capital's streets and alleys, and open the roads between cities within the province, and reduce the number of military checkpoints that do not play any security role, except that they block traffic in the streets. In addition, the government should accelerate the implementation of the Baghdad train project by a French company, or by any other country with expertise and efficiency in this subject, in order to reach solutions that will end the suffering of the citizens due to the problems of traffic jams in Baghdad.

  • عبداللطيف الفراجي

    2011-2-14

    The development of transportation in Baghdad is a civilized and new phenomenon that can help solve the problem of traffic congestion in the capital. This congestion threatens to disrupt life in Baghdad, seeing that the citizens do not have easy access to their destinations, whether it is a market, a department of the state, a hospital or the house of a relative or a friend. Therefore, I think that the implementation of the Baghdad metro project will contribute significantly to solving the problem of traffic congestion in Baghdad, and as we know, the French companies have the capabilities to realize such vital projects that serve the Iraqi people and add to the beauty of the capital.

  • حمادة حاتم

    2011-2-13

    Iraq has suffered for a long time from the significant problem of the failure of transportation and road congestion, due to a surfeit of vehicles and narrow streets, which do not accommodate such vehicles as a result of the marked increase in the population and the trend to importing cars from around the world. In spite of this development, the problem still exists, where there is a reliance on old means of transportation, such as taxis and buses. Some of these means date back to the middle of the last century, and this explains the enormous development that has characterized the movement of transportation in different parts of the world, whether in the Arab states or other countries, if compared to the primitive methods in Iraq, because since Iraq developed a network of transportation for the first time, it has not examined this important aspect again. Therefore, the introduction of the advanced means, such as the elevated train or metro, is important for this service facility.

  • صبحي كميل

    2011-2-13

    As citizens, we call on the concerned authorities to implement these projects as soon as possible, so that Iraq will take a position among the developed and advanced countries in the field of transportation.

  • بشار

    2011-2-13

    Iraq needs to re-examine the development of transportation, as well as the public transport operating in Iraq, particularly in Baghdad, in light of the fact that these factors we have mentioned are all underdeveloped and inadequate to end the crisis of transport and communications. There is no development of the transportation sector in Iraq in a deliberate way, based on strong foundations and in line with the numbers of the population in all areas of the cities of Iraq. Iraq has been relying on transferring old cars and buses from the capital, Baghdad, to other provinces, when the competent authorities of transportation import new cars and buses to run in the capital. These vehicles may not meet the local need, or they may not be qualified to operate in the weather conditions of Iraq. But recently, the private sector has imported huge numbers of used cars, which were taken out of service in their original countries, which led to paralyzing the traffic due to congestion that has no end in all the streets, because of the large numbers of these cars, as well as the many breakdowns which have contributed to increasing congestion. Moreover, the streets dedicated to cars and buses have not been expanded, and no new roads, tunnels or bridges have been built to avoid congestion. In addition, a lot of roads are cut off, under the pretext of protecting the officials and government departments. Therefore, all these factors should be addressed in order to develop transportation and the movement of vehicles, through the introduction of modern means of transportation and the construction of the Metro in Baghdad as soon as possible.

  • عبدالله حماد

    2011-2-12

    Iraq depends on old ways in the transportation sector, as it continues to use buses and taxis in transporting citizens from one place to another. These means must be developed to provide better service to the Iraqi citizen, because he is suffering a lot as these old means are no longer efficient in fulfilling the required tasks, and have now caused traffic jams as a results of the excessive number of cars on the streets. Thus, it is important to find a solution to this daily crisis, by developing this important sector, which is included in the necessary daily needs of the citizen.

  • غفور محمد

    2011-2-12

    We call for implementing these projects as soon as possible, such as metros and elevated trains, which will make the most important, developed means of transportation and help the citizen move in a comfortable way.

  • مدحت جلال

    2011-2-12

    Iraq needs to develop the means of domestic transportation, because most of them have become outdated and they do not meet the purpose required, such as taxis and buses, which have been suffering for a long time, due to aging and wear and tear. Many people are suffering from this phenomenon, which causes considerable delays in the arrival of most citizens at their jobs. So I think that Iraq needs work to improve and modernize the transportation sector. In fact, this work requires efforts to create developed means of transportation, like the other developed countries, such as creating projects that help to raise the level of transportation, like establishing a metro or building elevated trains. I think that these projects will alleviate the transportation crisis in order to offer a good service to the citizens and to facilitate their movements from one place to another as quickly as possible.

  • هاشم

    2011-2-12

    We call for these important projects, which we urgently need, to be implemented as quickly as possible, in order to develop the means of transportation, so we can benefit from their services.

  • صلاح الدين احمد

    2011-2-11

    We are supposed to see developments in the Iraqi street, and the Iraqis' only interest now is to restore their country to better than before. They do not want to stand idly by; they want to build infrastructures and rebuild what was destroyed by the terrorists in acts of bombings and suicide attacks. Iraq has a lot of congestion and jams in the streets for several reasons, such as the concrete barriers that block the main streets. Today, we think that there should be alternatives to the old ways of transportation by taxis and buses, as the people aspire to have subways or elevating trains as a development in the country. We call for the implementation of those projects as soon as possible, as this will solve many problems and will help urban development in Iraq. In addition, there should be relations with other countries that will help Iraq to carry out these important projects, hoping to see this step achieved by our government through contracts with companies, in order to implement this important issue.

  • صباح عادل

    2011-2-11

    Everyone knows that the old way of transportation by taxis or buses has gotten out of date, and we should think about establishing a metro line or an elevated railway, as is the case in the developed, Arab and European countries. These countries are no better than Iraq, but the crises that have afflicted Iraq were not insignificant, and now we hope there are new projects in view for Iraq. We call on the government to speed up the conclusion of contracts with companies specialized in this important cultural issue, and to intensify its efforts to carry out this project as a sign of a cultural renaissance. We have heard that there is a French company that wants to implement the elevated train, and this is what we hope will actually happen. We support our brave government and encourage it to accept this offer, for the prosperity of the country and to solve some traffic problems in terms of congestion. "It may happen that ye hate a thing which is good for you." I do not think this project will have adverse effects, and we hope to benefit from these projects, God willing.

  • كامل حداد

    2011-2-11

    All the countries surrounding Iraq have been able to change their circumstances, except Iraq, where we are still clinging to the past and rejecting evolution, and I do not know why there is this insistence by the Iraqi government on slowing down implementing construction projects that would benefit Iraq. The issue of transportation, for example, is one of the most important aspects of life, and there is no other sector of life that does not require the transportation sector. So, exerting further efforts in this important sector is considered an important and strategic step that will benefit Iraq. The simplest example is the public transport sector, as the Iraqi citizens still depend on old buses and taxis, which make their way painstakingly into jams. Is it conceivable that we will remain like this forever? The relevant authorities should begin the implementation of special projects in the transport sector, such as building a subway line or the establishment of bridges for trains, in order to relieve pressure on the streets and reduce congestion on the one hand and to bring about evolution in construction in Iraq on the other hand. In addition, this will provide comfort to the citizens and smoothness of transport. I do not think that such claims are difficult or impossible, because most of the neighboring countries have means of transport such as those we talked about. Is Iraq in isolation from its surroundings and the world, in order to continue at the same pace in the use of old buses and taxis?

  • صلاح محمد

    2011-2-11

    Iraq is still relying on taxis and buses for transportation, although there is a lot of congestion and traffic jams in all of Baghdad’s streets. As far as I am concerned, it is high time to develop transportation projects in Iraq. In fact, Iraq must have metros and elevated railways in order to reduce congestion and jams in our streets. They are the best ways that may help citizens. They are better than taxis and buses, which may be delayed because of car crashes, congestion and other reasons. Metros and elevated railway trains are therefore the best means of transport, which can facilitate the movement of Iraqis, for there is no congestion. They are fast, modern, and developed technology. Therefore, starting such projects needs quick practice and performance. Also, the work on such projects must be real, serious, well done and fast.

  • قدسي فياض

    2011-2-11

    As far as I am concerned, the government must find an alternative to the traditional means of transport, in order to improve this service for the Iraqis. In fact, the government must eplace them with metros and elevated streetcars. Thus, it is necessary to work on bringing such developed and successful projects into Iraq, which help to introduce progress and modern technologies, which help serve Iraqis and facilitate their lives. The latter have always been prevented from development, which is occurring nowadays in all Arab countries except Iraq, the country of wealth and progress. Thus, trying to provide the best must be the first priority of the government. Then, workers in this domain, namely ministries, companies, entrepreneurs and the workforce, come in the second place. I believe that such successful projects must be constructed in Iraq, because they are a manifestation of the country’s development and they serve the Iraqi citizens. I hope that the government carries out such projects as soon as possible, in order to protect Iraqi citizens.

  • علي غسان

    2011-2-10

    French companies may be competent enough to build Baghdad’s overhead railways. Once done, Baghdad’s inhabitants will profit much from this project, which is aimed to reduce traffic congestion. In fact, traffic is very slow in the city, because of the checkpoints and the streets that are closed off. Thus, the Baghdad overhead railway is the only solution and will definitely solve the dilemma, which has hurt many Iraqis.

  • فواد الطريفي

    2011-2-10

    The transportation sector in Baghdad is in a real crisis, because of the heavy traffic jams in the streets, due to the remarkable increase in the number of cars imported into Iraq in recent years. The other reason is the lack of new roads inside or outside of the cities, like the rest of the neighboring countries, who recently realized that this step would play a major role in reducing the phenomenon of traffic jams like those that have embittered the life of the residents of Baghdad. I think that the execution of the Baghdad Elevated Train will have a positive impact in reducing the crisis, at least partially, because it is impossible for a single project to solve the crisis of a city with a population of more than three million people, and that has a large number of private cars. I think that the French companies are among the most successful companies in the world, because of their experience and good reputation in undertaking many new construction projects. However, there are other companies that also have the ability to carry out such important projects efficiently.

  • بارزان حميد

    2011-2-8

    In my opinion, we need progress in the field of public transportation, because the available buses are very old, inappropriate and they constitute a contributing factor to environmental pollution and congestion in the streets. As such, new ways have to be innovated to keep up with the world, especially since trains have been introduced to all countries, even the Arab ones. We were the first to found a railway. We still do not have modern trains; this shows the state of backwardness the country is in.

  • فاروق علام

    2011-2-8

    This idea has come to be the best solution, and we currently have no alternative action plan. That is why it should be adopted quickly as an important project, which may have a great role in getting rid of the congestion that all the people of the capital, Baghdad, generally suffer from. I hope that the project of the elevated train is accomplished in Baghdad, to put an end to this overwhelming congestion, which obstructs the movement of people in general.

  • زامل رعد

    2011-2-8

    The French companies have great experience in the field of elevated trains, as they have many of these in Paris. Contracting with foreign companies to build such beautiful, useful and civilized projects shows the extent of the government’s interest in working on developing the transportation sector in the country. I believe that finishing this project and building and preparing the elevated train will most definitely have a role in ridding Baghdad, the capital, of the great congestion it is living through. This overwhelming congestion is evident because the streets need rehabilitation and new plans in addition to the construction of modern roads. This needs a lot of time, and consequently alternatives must be found until the work starts on these long-term projects and until they are finished, because we know that constructing new roads and the repair of existing streets will result in many streets being closed while work is being done. Consequently, the intensity of overcrowding in the streets will increase, which is why the train project has to be finished first, after which work should begin on long-term projects and on constructing new roads. We need this train to pass through all areas of Baghdad, in the north, south, center and west; and not just in one area or one side of the capital. The idea needs to spread, to get rid of many vehicles driven by their owners to work, school or to their jobs every morning. Consequently, this is a positive step, because it will end this tragedy.

  • -baqubah

    2011-1-30

    It is a beautiful, beneficial and civilized project, and we hope that it will be achieved together with the subway project. We also hope that an economic news section or page would be created on this respectable site, as is the case on the other sites.

  • ياسر العقابي

    2011-1-29

    This is an excellent project that will change the view of the Iraqis concerning the delayed reconstruction. God willing, giant projects will be established in Iraq.

  • جواد القابجي

    2011-1-26

    This is a very beautiful and wonderful project and I wish that it would be serious and start immediately, rather than being ink on paper, as usual. We do not want any procrastination at all.