Arsenale S.P.A. signed the agreement with Uzbekistan railways for "The Samarkand express" a new luxury train expected by 2026

The Samarkand Express marks Arsenale's inaugural train venture in Asia. An iconic journey through a country steeped in allure along the Silk Road, tracing the footsteps of Tamerlane, culminating in the famed city of Samarkand. This luxury train promises a slow tourism experience traversing one of Asia's most historically rich, culturally vibrant regions, offering exclusive onboard and on-ground experiences for 66-76 guests on the Tashkent, Samarkand, Bukhara, and Khiva routes.

Samarkand, May 3nd 2024
O'zbekiston Temir Yo'llari JSC, the national railways of Uzbekistan, Arsenale S.p.A., an Italian luxury hospitality company, signed a Head of Terms agreement in Tashkent during the Tashkent International Investment Forum and the Foreign Investors Council, the latter graced by His Excellency President Shavkat Mirziyoyev of Uzbekistan. This agreement sets the stage for the definitive agreement with Uzbek Railways for the development of an Italian-made luxury train slated to commence operations in Uzbekistan by late 2026. The project is fostered under the auspices of the Ministry of Investments, Industry, and Trade.
The accord was sealed by Khikmatulla Rakhmetov, Vice Chairman of the Board, and Paolo Barletta, CEO of Arsenale S.p.A.
The agreement will grant Arsenale access to Uzbekistan's national railway network, offering travelers a unique rail cruise experience through millennia-old cultural and civilizational treasures. Uzbekistan boasts a captivating architectural and artistic heritage steeped in history, positioned at the heart of the Silk Road, unequivocally the richest and most extraordinary country in Central Asia in terms of cultural allure. The Tourism Committee will play a pivotal role in promoting the project within the country's tourism itineraries and experiences.
The luxury train will comprise at least 13 carriages, housing 38 cabins for 66-76 guests, and will traverse four magnificent destinations: from Tashkent, the capital and primary economic and cultural hub of the Uzbek Republic, passing through the famed mosques and mausoleums of Samarkand, onward to Bukhara, historically pivotal in the Silk Road's bustling trade, and culminating in Khiva to the north, with its walled city of Itchan Kala, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1990.
Since opening its borders to tourism, Uzbekistan has emerged as a leading sector, welcoming over 6 million visitors in 2022, with tourist flows predominantly comprising Russians and Europeans, according to data from the Eurasia and Mediterranean Studies Center.
Khikmatulla Rakhmetov, Acting first deputy chairman of the board, declared:“ The signing of these agreement marks a new milestone in the development of our cooperation aimed at creating a unique tourist train in Uzbekistan. We are fully confident that our partnership with Arsenale Group will be mutually beneficial. It will bring modern technological solutions to Uzbekistan and will allow us to create an exceptional product for our tourists. I would like to express our gratitude to the management of Arsenale Group for productive negotiations and common understanding. We look forward to continuing and strengthening our cooperation even further. We look forward to the joint realization of this exciting project, which will introduce the world to the rich cultural and historical heritage of Uzbekistan and leave an indelible mark on the global tourism industry.

Paolo Barletta, CEO of Arsenale S.p.A., stated: “Today's signed agreement further solidifies our internationalization plan for an Italian model of luxury slow tourism, unparalleled in the market. I extend gratitude to Uzbekistan Railways and the institutions for their collaboration on The Samarkand Express, our inaugural luxury train in Asia.

This venture will elevate luxury tourism while fostering cultural exchange between our respective nations, strengthening existing cross-border relations, and simultaneously modernizing and enhancing hospitality services through infrastructure development. Expanding abroad, following the model initiated in Italy positions us as the premier Italian operator responsive to structural shifts in high-end tourism."
Arsenale will oversee the train's production phase, with carriages boasting ample Italian engineering expertise and the craftsmanship synonymous with the Made in Italy brand. This collaboration, including strategic coordination with Ferrovie dello Stato (FS) opportunities, marks a significant boost for the Italian railway industry and the entire luxury tourism sector. Manufacturing, onboard service quality, and know-how will adhere to the established Italian model proposed by Arsenale for its luxury rail vehicles.
Arsenale S.p.A.
Founded in 2020 by Paolo Barletta and Annabel Holding, Arsenale is an Italian company operating in the luxury hospitality industry. Its primary objective is enhancing the Italian tourism sector through two main divisions: Hospitality Hotel and Resort, which develops and manages luxury hotel facilities in synergy with renowned global luxury brands such as Soho House and Accor. The company's pipeline includes several strategic operations in Rome, Cortina, Tuscany, and Southern Italy. Luxury Train Cruising develops Orient Express La Dolce Vita, the first sustainable rail tourism project offering luxury accommodations in collaboration with Orient Express, Trenitalia-Gruppo Ferrovie dello Stato, and FS Foundation. In 2023, Arsenalebegan the internationalization phase by developing a new concept of luxury rail cruising, thanks to Italian know-how and craftsmanship. The company has signed a partnership with Saudi Arabia Railways, the national railway company of Saudi Arabia, for the development of Dream of The Desert, the first luxury train expected in the Kingdom, and with Etihad Railway, the national railway company of the United Arab Emirates, for the development of Spirit of the Union a luxury train that will travel across the Middle Eastern peninsula and another international partnership with O'zbekiston Temir Yo'llari JSC, the Railways of Uzbekistan and the State Tourism Committee of the Republic of Uzbekistan, to develop The Samarkand Express, the first luxury train in Central Asia that will run from the end of 2026; and finally with Egypt National Railway for the first luxury train in Egypt.
About O’Zbekiston Temir Yo’llari JSC
Joint Stock Company " O’Zbekiston Temir Yo’llari" was established in 1994 and since then it has been actively developing and establishing strong relations with a number of countries. JSC "O’Zbekiston Temir Yo’llari " receives representatives of various international organizations, firms, companies, and railway administrations of CIS, Baltic, and far abroad countries. During the negotiations, the issues of bilateral cooperation, organization of transportation, supply of materials and spare parts, construction of new lines and facilities, investment programs, and many others are considered. To date, JSC "O’Zbekiston Temir Yo’llari " has bilateral agreements on cooperation in the field of railway transportation with both CIS and non-CIS countries. The company also successfully cooperates with such international organizations as the International Union of Railways (UIC, France), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia-Pacific and Central Asia (UNESCAP), the Central Asian Regional Economic Cooperation (CARES) within the framework of the Asian Development Bank, the Organization for Cooperation of Railways (OSJD, Poland), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO, Iran), the Council on Railway Transport of the CIS member states. Equipped with modern technical facilities, geographical location makes Uzbek railroads the most important link in European communication.

It is of particular importance in providing transportation links between China, Japan and CIS countries, Iran, Turkey and Europe. A special place belongs to the Republic of Uzbekistan and its railroads in the revival of the historical Silk Road, or, as we railroaders call it, the TRACECA transport corridor, which is the shortest and most economical route from Asia to Europe. Today the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), KfW Bank (Germany), and Eximbank (China) are serious business partners of the Company. At the same time, great interest in the company was shown by such well-known firms as "Patentes Talgo L.S." (Spain), Geismar (France), Plasser & Teurer (Austria), CNTIC and CRTG (China), BELAM (Latvia), Sumimoto, Marubeni, Shimizu, Kanimatsu (Japan) and others.


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