In support of Uzbekistan's railway development, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is financing the electrification of the 140 kilometers Marakand-Karshi section of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Corridor 6, which is the north-south corridor linking Europe through Central Asia to the Middle East and South Asia.
CAREC Corridor 6 transits Uzbekistan from Keles on the border with Kazakhstan to Tashkent, Samarkand, Karshi, and Kumkurgan, before reaching Termez on the border with Afghanistan. It annually carries about 10 million tons of freight, including 1.6 million tons of humanitarian relief goods to Afghanistan (more than half its imports).
The northern part of this rail corridor from Keles to Marakand is electrified and operated by electric locomotives, increasing capacity and improving freight and passenger services. The Government of Uzbekistan requested assistance from ADB for electrification on the remaining section from Marakand to Karshi.
Besides providing transport to remote and less developed districts of Samarkand and Kashkadarya provinces, the Marakand-Karshi rail line links with three main railway routes: northeast to Samarkand, Tashkent, and onward to Kazakhstan; northwest to Nukus, Urgench, and Kazakhstan; and south to Termez and onward to Afghanistan, with links to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.
The railway upgrade will increase regional connectivity, cut transport costs, lessen greenhouse gas emissions, and boost trade.