Railway link bridging landlocked Central Asia to Persian Gulf official inaugurated

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A railway route bridging landlocked Central Asia with the Persian Gulf has been officially inaugurated in a ceremony at a remote train station on the border of Iran and Turkmenistan.

The opening of the line was overseen Wednesday in the Turkmen frontier village of Ak-Yayla by the presidents of Iran, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

During the ceremony, the leaders were handed white gloves by children and together bolted a final golden-colored segment of track into place.

The 928-kilometer (577-mile) route, which runs from western Kazakhstan to the northern Iranian city of Gorgan, will substantially hasten transportation of cargo between a long-isolated region and markets in the Middle East and Asia.

The line is intended to transport cargo, although there are plans to eventually open it to passengers.