2014 will be year of high-speed trains: Turkish transport minister
ANKARA - Anadolu Agency
Transport Minister Lütfi Elvan (C) visits the construction of the Istanbul-Eskişehir high-speed railway. AA photoTurkey’s high-speed railway (YHT) line between Istanbul and Ankara will quadruple Turkey’s high-speed railway passenger numbers, according to Transport Minister Lütfi Elvan.
“2014 will be the year of records for the YHT,” he told Anadolu Agency on Jan. 12, while discussing the 2013 performance of the much-anticipated lines.
Elvan, who took over as minister from Binali Yıldırım as part of a large recent Cabinet reshuffle, stated that high-speed trains in Turkey had transported almost 4.5 million passengers in 2013, and said the figure would exceed 20 million in 2014 once the line under construction between Istanbul and Turkish capital Ankara was completed.
Elvan praised the YHT system as fast, comfortable, economical and one of the safest possible means of transport. The first introduction of YHT lines in Turkey was in 2009 with the Ankara-Eskisehir line.
Elvan stressed that the ministry would invest a total of $45 billion in rail systems until 2023, and construct 10,000 km of YHT lines and another 4,000 km of conventional new lines.
The government plans to construct new high-speed and normal railway lines in 15 cities, where a majority of the population lives. Elvan named the new YHT lines to be opened soon as Ankara-Izmir, Ankara-Bursa, and Ankara-Sivas-Erzincan.
The Ankara-Istanbul YHT that is planned to be opened in February will also be linked to the Marmaray, Istanbul’s massive rail tunnel project that was opened on Oct. 29 and carries passengers under the Bosphorus, through the Pendik suburban train station. This link would enable an unbroken journey from Asia to Europe. The overall journey between Istanbul and Ankara with the YHT is expected to last three hours.