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Trans-Iranian Railway inscribed on World Heritage list

Trans-Iranian Railway that reaches a length of 1400 km has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.


“Started in 1927 and completed in 1938, the 1,394-kilometer-long railway was designed and executed in a successful collaboration between the Iranian government and 43 construction contractors from many countries,” UNESCO said in astatement announcing the railway’s addition to the list.

Trans-Iranian Railway that reaches a length of 1400 km has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Trans-Iranian Railway connects the Caspian Sea in the northeast with the Persian Gulf in the southwest crossing two mountain ranges as well as rivers, highlands, forests and plains, and four different climatic areas.

Started in 1927 and completed in 1938, the 1,394-kilometre-long railway was designed and executed in a successful collaboration between the Iranian government and 43 construction contractors from many countries.

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The railway is notable for its scale and the engineering works it required to overcome steep routes and other difficulties. Its construction involved extensive mountain cutting in some areas, while the rugged terrain in others dictated the construction of 174 large bridges, 186 small bridges and 224 tunnels, including 11 spiral tunnels. Unlike most early railway projects, construction of the Trans-Iranian Railway was funded by national taxes to avoid foreign investment and control.

Veresk Bridge
Veresk Bridge- Savad Kooh County, Mazandaran Province

From Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf

The Trans-Iranian railway is a long route connecting the Caspian Sea in the north to the Persian Gulf and Oman Sea in the south (Bandar-e Torkaman in the northeast to Bandar-e Imam Khomeini in the southwest of Iran).

It is considered as the last influential mega project in terms of architectural, social and technological innovations and marvels in its time.

Since the inauguration of Trans-Iranian railway, it has continued to play a key role in the urban, rural and nomadic life of Iran.

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At the same time, it has continued to be a crucial factor in trade and cultural transactions between the region and other near and far countries. It has served as the turning point for all-embracing developments in Iran covering a wide spectrum of various economic, commercial, social, cultural, touristic and even political aspects at a critical juncture of the contemporary history of the world.

Another important feature of the railway is its potential to present a wide range of technical solutions for railway construction in a diversified region including deserts, forests, mountains and coastal regions.

Following the construction of the Trans-Iranian railway created a new style of mixed Persian-Western architecture and which had a profound influence on the architecture of its time.

Moreover, the architectural design of train stations, personnel residents, warehouses, fuel storage depots, affiliated industries and the majority of buildings along the route have been done using modern materials and following an eclectic style consisted of indigenous and European architecture.

Consequently, this style became part of the architectural identity of each region.

Trans Iranian Railway

Trans Iranian Railway

Challenges for constructing of the railway

The impacts on social, economic, industrial and cultural growth

The role of the railway industry in the social, economic, industrial and cultural growth of Iran and the region as well as in international transactions is undeniable. Not only the railway has boosted the economy and trade by speeding up transportation but also it has made possible cultural interactions and social relations with the West. Additionally, it has mutually affected major pillars of civilization i.e. town-planning and architecture.

The trans-Iranian route contains several natural-historical monuments which not only has brought about rural and urban development and new settlements but also has made the rail link culturally rich and attractive through interaction with nature.


During the implementation of this national project, several purpose-built factories and facilities were established as a part of the history of Iranian industry which also includes several train stations, hospitals, churches, metal industries, silos, related buildings and sleeper-manufacturing plants.

WW II. and the Victory Bridge.

Regarding its effect on social developments of the world, the trans-Iranian railway played a pivotal role in the WW II. For example, daily, 75 trains and 1368 wagons (every 25 minutes a train), crossed the Veresk Bridge within the northern path of the route.

In July 1943, a prominent transfer took place from Khorramshahr to northern area of Iran.

The train includes a diesel locomotive with 48 prestigious wagons this day.

On side of the train, it was written in capital letters: “By sending this train, 5 million tons of military equipment was shipped by the Iranian railways to the Soviet Union.”

The important role of the Iranian railroad in the victory of the Allies was to the extent that the post-war Iran Railroad was nicknamed by the Allied countries as the Victory Bridge.

The trans-Iranian denotes clever and brave engineering solutions and has been designed based on creative technical solutions for overcoming problems encountered on a very long route with multiple natural obstacles.

During the construction of it, the Iranian government undertook its direct supervision but the project was subcontracted to multiple companies from Iran, Germany, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Britain, Czechoslovakia, Sweden, USA and Denmark that makes this railway a multinational project.

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SURFIRAN Editorial Team

SURFIRAN is an Iranian tour operator and travel agency offering tour packages to those interested in Iran. It provides the tourists with services needed to travel to Iran, offers tours across the country, and assists the tourists in obtaining Iranian visas.

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