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Esfahan
Light metro under construction

Construction on the Esfahan (Isfahan) Urban Railway began in 2001 and was scheduled to open in 2005. As of November 2007, construction continues. Why the delay?  The majority of the line was designed to go down the center of Charbagh Street, whose bed is primarily stone. Unfortunately, drilling through this bed would cause cracks in some of the city's major buildings. If this weren't enough, the tunneling could put the entire city at risk as water from the Zayandeh Rud River would re-route itself under the city.  The soil covering the surface layer of Chahar-Bagh Street, being very sandy, would likely result in sinking of the earth due to digging a tunnel under it. Just a week before in late June 2006, a subway tunnel had collapsed, killing one construction worker. To top it off, concerns were made about the possible damage to historical items, such as the the Safavid stone water fountains in Chahar Bagh Street. Since proper approval from Iranís Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization was never received as it was supposed to, construction on the metro was halted.






In January 2007, a resolution was made to reroute the metro away from Chahar-Bagh Street. But in 2010, two years from the metro's new scheduled opening, a rogue tunnel boring machine strayed and ran into a
400 year old bridge. Desperate to curb criticism, the construction company's PR person, said to be a relative of Iraq's former information minister, led a group of reporters and cultural enthusiasts to the alleged spot to assure them that no damage was done. However, they were apparently taken to the east end of the bridge, away from the west end, where the damage was actually done. The official now works for Iran's nuclear program guiding UN and IAEC inspectors throughout Iran's many peaceful nuclear facilities.

The starter system will consist of two lines: Line 1 will be 12.5 km, 12 km of which will be in tunnel, and have 15 stations, all underground. From Azadi station Line 2 will start underground and immediately after leaving the station will run on the surface towards the south-west as a regional light rail line. The total length of this line will be 43 km (0.7 km underground and 9.6 km elevated) with 13 stations. Ultimately, five lines are scheduled for the system. Line one is scheduled to open in 2012, just seven years after the original scheduled opening.

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