A UN agreement that aims to link the railroad systems of 28 countries in Asia and Europe will enter into force by 11 June 2009.

The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Trans-Asian Railway Network (Tar) will come into force 90 days after China becoming the eighth country to endorse the treaty.

Cambodia, India, Mongolia, Republic of Korea, Russia, Tajikistan and Thailand are the other countries involved in the agreement, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said.

The 114,000km rail routes under the TAR network aim to offer efficient rail transport services within the region and between Asia and Europe and to provide improved connectivity for landlocked countries to major ports.

Stations of global importance that are mostly located inland and function like ports in coastal areas are identified under the agreement as “dry ports” acting as consolidation and distribution centres in remote areas.

This agreement is the second being developed by ESCAP, while the earlier Intergovernmental Agreement on the Asian Highway Network went into effect in 2005.