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I traced the new tracks from rather recent satellite imagery for OpenStreetMap: https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=13/37.4352/47.7062
And there is indeed tons of engineering structures which understandably take quite bit longer to build. Given the economic circumstances I think it makes sense to open up the already finished phase to actually make use of the investment. Also - as I learned from the finished, but not used new Berlin airport station - trains might need to move throught the tunnels to exchange the air inside and prevent building up of mold. So better to do that with actual paying passengers.

Also interesting to see the even worse engineering challenges northeast of Miyaneh where they are building the new railway to Ardebil. That should make a spectacular trip competing with Swiss scenic railroads once it's finished.
 

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Is there a train between Shiraz and Esfahan?
 

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Yes, it's part of the Tehran<->Esfahan<->Shiraz route. There is no line which only operates Esfahan<->Shiraz as far as I know though.
To be correct, there are up to 2 passenger trains per day which run the line between Shiraz and Esfahan, doing service between Shiraz and Tehran as well as Shiraz and Mashad. Both do a service stop in Esfahan, but passenger boarding is not allowed. They don't enter Esfahan passenger terminal but will bypass it on the more southern freight yard. This is where they have the service halt. The halt in Esfahan of Tehran to Shiraz train is currently at 23.33 where it crosses with the Tehran bound service which is supposed to arrive at 23.35. No way to leave or board the train, however.

Until several years ago the Shiraz to Tehran train used to call for passengers in Esfahan, too (I even traveled this route in that period), but it has been abolished due to the high demand on the whole route.

Of course it is almost unbelievable that two of the major Iranian cities with both more than a million of inhabitants are not connected between each other by any train service at all (with an exiting railway line), given that the distance of approximately 500 km which would be ideal for passenger rail service. Would it be in Europe, there would be at least a hourly train connection in a similar situation.

For several years I have been discussing the missing train link between Shiraz and Esfahan with Iranian Railways authorities. They say, not enough rolling stock is available to do the service and that they have line capacity problems in the Esfahan area. The line to Shiraz shares a short section south of Esfahan with heavy freight traffic to Industrial plants.

However, as one of the railway's staff put it in a meeting, if there was some important Shia sanctuary in Esfahan, passenger train service between Esfahan and Shiraz would already have been provided...
 

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Crosspost from myself out of the international Railways section, maybe more local people read here and are able to provide more information ?

I was just browsing through Railfaneurope's stock lists of Iran Railways, and saw this type mentioned: MAP24-S90.
Some Googling found me this video:

A press release from its manufacturer Mapna is scarce on information:

Another video with the actual assembly going on, instead of the propaganda video above:

Other sites suggest that this type is based on GT26-CW(2) locomotives. So are these really new built locomotives from scratch, or just heavily rebuilt (existing) GT26-CW's (similar to what Gredelj/NREC did for Morocco and Israeli railways) ?
 
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