Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan took a trip on the new electric train from the capital to the country’s second largest city to find out what problems tourists might face" />

Electric train route between Yerevan and Gyumri bets on increased tourism

Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan took a trip on the new electric train from the capital to the country’s second largest city to find out what problems tourists might face

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan boarded the country’s new electric train yesterday on its maiden voyage from Yerevan to Gyumri.

Pashinyan hopes that this type of transport can contribute to the development of tourism in the country, while ensuring safer and more environmentally friendly travel.

However, the main reason for the trip was to establish how ready Armenia’s transport infrastructure is as a whole to properly serve tourists.

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The prime minister was accompanied by the Minister of Transport, Communications and Information Technologies Hakob Arshakyan and the Minister of Territorial Administration Suren Papikyan.

During the trip, he studied the conditions of the new train – from the driver’s cab to the cars including the sanitary facilities. He also took an interest in the technical capabilities of the train.

He shared his impressions with residents of the whole country via a live broadcast on his his Facebook page.

Pashinyan noted the route may be attractive to tourists, were it not spoiled by garbage everywhere.

“For the first time I am traveling around Armenia by rail. The road to Gyumri is quite interesting and fascinating, and gave me the opportunity to see Armenia from a completely new angle,” Pashinyan said.

New electric train

The train was purchased from Transmashholding, a Russian company, to ferry passengers along the Yerevan-Gyumri line.

It takes 130 minutes from Yerevan to Gyumri – much faster than a regular train, which takes about three hours. Tickets cost 2,500 drams (about $5) per ticket. Officials hope that the train will attract more tourists to Gyumri and other cities, as well as to villages in the northern part of the country.

What else did the PM inspect in Gyumri?

Pashinyan was awaited at the Gyumri station by a number of people who wanted to either ask him questions, ask for help solving local issues or to take pictures.

In Gyumri, the governmental delegation visited the city’s bus station. The activity of the bus station, the upcoming overhaul and the opportunity to transform it into a modern transport hub, were discussed with the local authorities.

The next point of interest was the local airport, Shirak, where they were presented with current investment programmes. In particular, the airport has already implemented a programme to improve its infrastructure, and have also improved the technical equipment of the airport.

Due to this, Shirak Airport was able to receive more than 200,000 passengers over the past year. This year, thanks to the new investment programmes, a new arrival hall will be built.

Pashinyan spoke of the importance of making Gyumri an attractive destination for visitors.

He also visited the 102nd Russian military base during his Gyumri visit.

However, this part of the trip was closed to journalists.

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