A trial intermodal rail service was launched August 14, 2009 between Islamabad, Pakistan and Istanbul, Turkey with a stop in Tehran, Iran.
The initial pilot service hauled 20 containers and was slated to deliver 14 to Tehran and the remaining six to Istanbul two weeks after leaving Islamabad.
Turkey and Iran already have railway links at their borders and both operate freight and passenger train services between the two countries. Prior to the initiation of the new container service, containers were landed in Karachi and transported to their respective destinations in the two countries by road or rail.
Pakistan's trade with Turkey and Iran is currently estimated at $1billion. Officials hoped the new rail service could increase that by as much as 50%. Future plans for the service include extending its reach into Europ and Central Asia as well as adding passenger service.