Eastern Express tickets sold out until mid-August
ERZURUM - Demirören News Agency
Passengers reportedly prefer the train, which covers a distance of 1,310 kilometers from Ankara to Kars, for its reasonable prices while enjoying a high-speed train experience.
Though the journey takes nearly 24 hours, it is a hot choice for the passengers looking to both make memories while traveling in Türkiye and save those extra bucks on planes and bus tickets, as the journey is full of picturesque scenes that never fail to enthrall passengers, and thanks to the provision of sleeping coaches, passengers get a chance to experience a comfortable journey.
Due to the popularity of the train, people have to buy their tickets weeks in advance as there is no room. The train departs from Ankara at 6 p.m. and Kars at 8 a.m. every day with a capacity of 371 passengers.
On its way, the Eastern Express travels through and makes stops at the Central Anatolian provinces of Kırıkkale, Kayseri and Sivas, as well as the eastern provinces of Erzincan and Erzurum before arriving at its final destination, Kars. The train departing from Kars completes the same route in one day.
“The prices are very reasonable and cannot be compared with planes. Also, the train is safer,” said Nuri Kali, who prefers the train to go to Ankara, where he works, from his hometown, Erzurum.
Reserving a place weeks in advance to travel with the train, Demet Gülel, one of the passengers, said, “I live in [the northeastern province of] Artvin but came here [Kars] to go to Sivas by train because tickets are almost four times cheaper than bus tickets.”
“We prefer the train because it is cheaper to go to Ankara [from Erzurum]. Instead of spending loads of money on a ticket, it makes more sense to buy the ticket cheaper and spend it at the destination,” said Yakup Akcaba, another passenger.
The railway between Ankara and Erzurum, the construction of which was started in the 1920s, was completed in 1949. The train, which had been used for passenger and freight transportation from Istanbul’s Haydarpaşa, a historic train station on the Asian side, to Kars for many years, started running between Ankara and Kars in 2012, with the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed train started operations.
The extremely popular service, which the TCDD said is among the top 10 best train routes, was forced to halt operations in March 2020 due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Eastern Express, which carried 111,400 passengers in 2021, resumed operations in mid-December last year after a 21-month hiatus.
Mainly drawing great attention from international tourists and local university students, the train became highly popular after people started sharing photos of the picturesque scenery of their journey on social media.