The railway network of Turkmenistan is constituted essentially by its principle axis, running form east to west through all the country, and by some secondary lines.
The principal line, originated from the historical Transcaspian line which was the first railway line in the whole Central Asia, connects the port of Turkmenbashi, on the shore of the Caspian sea, with the ca-pital Ashgabat and continues then to Mary and to Turkmenabat, to-wards the border with Uzbekistan. Another important line starts from Turkmenabat, runs along the watercourse of Amu Darya reaching Da-shoguz, in the north of the country, and continues then towards Kun-grad, in Uzbekistan.
In order to go from Ashgabat to Turkmenbashi or to Turkmenabat it is advisable to make use of night trains with sleeping-car service, which leave the capital late in the evening and reach their destination in the following morning.
In the last years important projects of modernization and enlarge-ment of the railway network of the country have been started. In 1996 the new section connecting Tedjen, on the line Ashgabat-Turk-menabat, to Serakhs, near the Iranian border, has been already completed. The opening of this section was a moment of great im-portance since it made it possible the connection of the Turkmen rail-way network with the Iranian network, with evident advantages for the integration of Turkmenistan within the international transport system. In fact a weekly connection starting from Alma Ata, in Kazakhstan, and running through Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to Teheran, in Iran, is nowadays already working.
Another project of great importance already in course of construction is the realization of the new railway line that crossing the Karakum desert will connect Ashgabat directly to Dashoguz, in the north of the country. In this case the opening of the new line will make it possible the creation of a new axis north-south in the railway network of the country, reducing considerably the length of the journey and favou-ring the development of new areas of the country.

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