Trans Iranian Railway | A symbol of modernization in Iran’s history
The major project of building the Trans Iranian Railway started in 1927 and completed in 1938, under the direction of Reza Shah Pahlavi. The railway connected Bandar-e-Shah (Today known as Bandar-e-Torkaman) in north to Bandar-e-Shapour (Today known as Bandar-e-Imam Khomeini) in south of Iran. In 1963, during the land reforms implemented by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as part of the ‘White Revolution’, it extended to connect Tehran to Mashhad, Tabriz and Isfahan. This railway was inscribed in the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The history of the railway’s construction
Modernism and modern industries were introduced to Iran, with the travels of Nasser-e-Din Shah of Qajar dynasty but during the rule of Reza Shah Pahlavi, Iran experienced its peak of modern achievements.
The idea of railway’s construction initially emerged in the second half of 19th century, in late Qajar dynasty, since the political and cultural relations between Iran and Europe expanded but the construction phase started under the region of Pahlavi I. It should be mentioned that the Trans Iranian Railway had an important role in World War II, in the final victory of Soviet Union’s final over Nazi Germany, because it delivered supplies to Soviet Union forces.
Features of the Trans Iranian Railway
It has length of 1394 m, a width of 1435 mm and 90 working stations and is considered as a masterpiece of human ingenuity with exceptional values. From the unique characteristics of its route we can mention its marvelous views, geographical variety, and special landscapes of multiple climates in Iran. This railway is a complete collection of beautiful and eye-catching natural resources such as mountain ranges, ponds, peaks, slopes, forests, plains, grasslands and deserts.
Influences of the Trans Iranian Railway
With its construction, a new genre of architecture was introduced and had a huge influence in its time. Stations and residential structures were planned based on the traditional and local architecture, craftsmanship and clime, which all made a specific architectural style.
It accelerated transportation in economic and commercial spheres and a cultural influence, coming from interactions and social relations with distant western and European cultures. Since its opening for the public use, it was influential in development of urban, rural, tribal and nomadic life of Iranian people.
It should be mentioned that despite the shortage of technical equipment, bridges like Veresk and Sekhat-tala with different heights and spans, can be considered as among the first bridge-building experiments of Iran. The construction process of the railway represents the simultaneous work of Iranian architecture and engineers from different European countries of: Germany, Austria, Britain, Denmark and Russia, that European architecture and engineering has mingled with traditional Iranian architecture.
* Written by Arefeh Firouzan.
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