Pakistan has begun trials on its first international freight train service connecting the country with Iran and Turkey.

The 6,500km rail line will extend from Pakistan’s capital Islamabad to the Turkish city of Istanbul via the Iranian capital of Tehran.

The fortnight-long trial service will carry 20 containers, 14 belonging to Iran and six to Turkey.

The line is expected to increase the country’s trade with Turkey and Iran by 50% from the current average of $1bn.

The rail route has also been planned to run passenger services in the future to boost tourism.

The rail line is part of the Economic Cooperation Organization, an intergovernmental international organisation involving ten Eurasian nations working towards improving trade.