Tehran-Karbala train to start next week

Pilgrims of the Iraqi holy city of Karbala can travel from the Iranian capital Tehran via train from next week, the Iranian railway transportation company said.

Seyyed Miad Salehi, deputy minister of roads and urban development and head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways, said on Thursday the launch will facilitate the pilgrims’ travel for Arbaeen, which marks the 40th day after the martyrdom of Imam Hossein, the third Shia Imam.

Salehi said the train will take the travelers from Tehran to the border city of Shalamcheh and after a 30-kilomter trip by bus to the Iraqi city of Basra, they can continue their journey to Karbala, where Imam Hussein’s mausoleum lies, via train.

He added Iranian and Iraqi officials held week-long talks on the preparations for the religious ceremony and the two sides decided to launch the route with one train a week for the first three weeks as a test run for the pilgrims.

Every year, millions of Muslims from Iran, Iraq and many other countries set out on an 80-kilometer-long walk from the holy city of Najaf, where Imam Hussein’s father Imam Ali (AS)’s shrine is located, to Imam Hussein’s shrine in Karbala.

Covid-19 pandemic had put a damper on the mourning ceremony for the past two years but the event is expected to reach its peak this year after Coronavirus-related restrictions have been eased.

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