KARACHI (APP) - Pakistan, Turkey and Iran have agreed in principle to operate container train service from Istanbul to Islamabad via Tehran, Iran, in the first phase and a passenger train service in the second phase. The technical details of the first phase container train service were discussed at a meeting of senior railway officials of three countries held in Tehran with Pakistan represented by General Manager Railway (Operation) Saeed Akhtar. On return here Wednesday morning from Tehran, the Railway's operation chief Saeed Akhtar told APP that tentatively it has been agreed to start this container train service from August 14. The train, he pointed out will either start from Islamabad on August 14 or arrive Islamabad from Istanbul on the day of Independence of Pakistan. "We want to make it a ceremonial occasion to launch the container train service from Islamabad on August 14 while Turkey is pressing its launch from their end". However, GM Railway said, even if it starts from Istanbul we have told them that the train should reach Islamabad on August 14. Saeed Akhtar said that during the meeting various issues cropped up, particularly the Customs related formalities and since there was no Custom representatives present in the meeting, it was decided to sort out this issue in the next meeting to be held in April in which representatives of Customs from three countries would also be invited Replying a question, the Railway operational chief said that Tehran has completed the track between Zahidan and Kirman and the same has been linked up with Pakistan side of railway network. He pointed out that Turkey and Iran already have railway link up at their borders and both have freight and passenger train services. To another question, he said, that prior to launch of the container train service, there could be problems of technical, administrative and security and these would be discussed in the April meeting. Replying a question, he said the size of the train would depend on the availability of container business. However, he hoped that the first train would carry about 40 containers. Saeed Akhtar pointed out that the service would be of great advantage to the business community of Pakistan, Turkey and Iran because earlier the containers used to be sent to Karachi by ship and after unloading them here used to be sent forward to respective destinations in the country either by road or rail and this was costing them quite high.