|Quetta–Taftan Railway Line|
کوئٹہ-تفتان مرکزی ریل راستہ
|Other name(s)||Main Line 4|
|Opened||15 November 1905|
|Line length||612 km (380 mi)|
|Track gauge||1,676 mm (5 ft 6 in)|
|Operating speed||105 km/h (65 mph) (Current)|
160 km/h (99 mph) (Proposed)
The Quetta–Taftan Railway Line (Urdu: کوئٹہ-تفتان مرکزی ریل راستہ) (also referred as Main Line 4 or ML-4) is one of four main railway lines in Pakistan, operated and maintained by Pakistan Railways. Inward from Pakistan's most western edge it begins at Quetta station and has services that continue beyond Koh-e-Taftan station in high mountains, west. Its length is 612 kilometers (380 mi) to the Iranian border, a few kilometers further west of that station. It has 18 active stations of which 14 are in Pakistan and 4 are in Iran. Many or all main services since 1940 (and 1922 to 1931) terminate on the natural continuation in eastern Iran at the high city of Zahedan, which sees a change of gauge (of track and rolling stock) for accessing the Trans-Iranian Railway.
Originally known as the "Trans–Baluchistan Railway", the line was built as part of a strategic military route between British India (specifically the part now Pakistan) and Persia (now Iran). The Quetta to Nushki branch was approved by Lord George Hamilton, Secretary of State for India, in August 1902, and it was opened on 15 November 1905. The part west of Nushki towards Iran was named the Nushki Extension Railway. Work started on it in September 1916 under the charge of P.C. Young as Engineer-in-Chief and it reached the Iranian town of Duzdap (now Zahedan, a small city) on 1 October 1922. By the time the railway reached Duzdap, the British had already demobilized their forces in East Persia in March 1921 which took away the importance of the newly built part. So much so that in 1931, the 221–kilometer section between Nok Kundi and Duzdap (Zahedan) was closed and track removed to be used elsewhere. World War II however, renewed interest in the Quetta-Zahedan link. British forces wanted to aid the Soviet forces by supplying material through Persia. Aid through Persia proved unnecessary (due to successful Arctic convoys of World War II and similar supplies) but the Quetta-Zahedan link was reopened on 20 April 1940 in Zahedan.
The stations are:
- The Trans-Baluchistan Railway All Things Pakistan July 13, 2007, now an archived website
- Pilgrimage to Dalbandin by Salman Rashid posted January 2013. The author's father was an Assistant Engineer with North Western Railway at Dalbandin from April 1943 to December 1944
- Pakistan Railways: A Performance Analysis - Citizens' Periodic Reports on the Performance of State Institutions (PDF). Islamabad: PILDAT. December 2015. p. 21. ISBN 978-969-558-589-4. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 24, 2016. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
- "Latest intelligence - India". The Times. No. 36859. London. 29 August 1902. p. 3.