The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has extended a $100m loan to Uzbekistan to finance the electrification of a 140km stretch of rail line between Marakand in Samarkand province and Karshi in Kashkadarya province.

The scope of work includes an overhead power line, traction substations, modern signalling and telecommunication equipment as well as provision of training and other support to state-run rail operator Uzbekistan Temir Yullari to manage the new system.

The Government of Uzbekistan and the state-run rail operator will provide the rest of the funding worth $76m for the $176m project.

The project will improve regional connectivity along a vital transit route, cut transport costs, lessen greenhouse gas emissions and boost trade, ADB said.

The state rail operator will execute the project, which is expected to be complete by March 2016.

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