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Traveling By Train on the Great Silk Road?

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The comfortable speed train shuttles passengers between Tashkent and Samarkand.

Wouldn't it be great to be able to travel from Central Asia to China by rail? I've always wanted to do this, but there’s never been a connection between the two. As a friend of mine told me today, “I’d much prefer to travel the Great Silk Road by train than by hopping from region to region by airplane.” With the news out of Uzbekistan today, it appears that we’re one step closer to realizing this dream.

On November 29, Uzbekistan and China signed agreements worth $400 million on Friday, with China financing two tunnels on a railway linking eastern Uzbekistan to the rest of the country.

Uzbekistan is building a 120-kilometer link to go through the imposing Kamchik Pass and China will finance its most difficult tunnels for $350 million, according to the AFP news agency. The Kamchik Pass is 2,267 meters above sea level and is located on the only road between Tashkent and the Ferghana Valley. Once this link is completed, it will facilitate the connection to China.

When this railroad link is successfully completed, not only will it open markets between China and Central Asia, but it could facilitate the transportation of travelers in both directions.

The deal was inked during the visit of Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang to Uzbekistan, where he met President Islam Karimov late Thursday. Other deals aim to boost cooperation in banking, tax, tourism and culture.

The future looks very good for traveling by train along the Great Silk Road!

Posted by Greg Stephenson at 12:47 PM