At the heart of the Mashreq railway network
Jordan plays a strategic role in good and people flows within the Mashreq region.
Its railway network is limited, made of an old line (Hedjaz) linking Syria to Saudi Arabia and the ARC line (Aqaba Railway Corporation) used to transport phosphate, extracted in Ablad adn Hassa mines, nearby Aqaba harbour.
In the project in process, railways will be enlarged and the network will be extended up to 1080 km (671 miles).
It will link the main economic areas of the country : Aqaba, Amman, Zarka et Mafraq.
The purpose is to modernize the network equiping it with better infrastructures in order to increase goods and people transportation. Trains, 1500 to 3000 m long (1640 to 3280 miles long) will run on the new network.
In that project, Aqaba harbour, only shipping access of the country, becomes a priority. The current ARC line isnot connecting phosphate mines with the harbour. To resolve the 30 km (18 miles) railway lines missing issue, the transport is currenty ensured by freight trucks, the ARC line will be extended.
The total investment for Jordan goes up to 4,3 billions euros.
Nevertheless, the Jordan railway project is just a piece of the Mashreq infrastructures project puzzle aiming at equiping that region with efficient facilities and services in order to support its economic development.
North, the country has a common border with Syria. East, it links to Iraq and Saudi Arabia. West, Palestine and Israel make a mediterranean wall. Jordan has no border with Egypt but the Red sea makes them really close.
Iraq situation getting better, the country is starting a long rebuilding. The connection with Jordan will become a main axis to carry materials and goods. Saudi Arabia also cares about that economic paternship with Jordan, essential in its goods and foodstuffs carriage.
In 2003, Jordan and its neighbouring countries approved the railway development international agreement. Soon, Jordan will be part of the Intergovernmental Organization for International Carriage by Rail (IOICR).
Although Jordan is one the smallest countries in that region, it seems to take advantage of its location.
Morever, project support by world authority first helps to obtain financing and usually makes planning process decision faster. That’s the reason why Euromed Transport (european authority working on transport network development) works on an efficient transport network in the Mediterranean region.