Fast train project to link Istanbul, Ankara

Fast train project to link Istanbul, Ankara

KOCAELİ - Anatolia News Agency
Fast train project to link Istanbul, Ankara

Industry Minister Nihat Ergün, Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım and EU Minister Egemen Bağış pose at the groundbreaking ceremony of Ankara-Istanbul railway.

A new fast train linking Ankara and Istanbul will carry 50,000 passengers a day when it opens within two years, the Turkish State Railways’ (TCDD) general manager said yesterday at a groundbreaking ceremony. The project will reduce distance between Turkey’s biggest two cities to 3 hours. 

The total line will be 523 kilometers long, Süleyman Karaman said at the ceremony in the northwestern province of Kocaeli’s Gebze district.

The number of daily Ankara-Istanbul passengers was 75,000 and TCDD aimed to carry 50,000 with the new line, Karaman said. 

The European Union had funded 85 percent of the project. “This is the largest project that the European Union has funded for a non-EU country,” said Egemen Bağış, Turkey’s EU minister. 

30 kilometers of the Eskişehir-İnönü stretch of the line had already been built in difficult conditions and were about to be tested. The 276-kilometer stretch from Ankara to Eskişehir was already completed in 2009.

Industry Minister Nihat Ergün said the line was expected to be up and running within 24 months and that they planned to add a third line to the two already planned just to carry goods and products. 

Transport Minister Binali Yıldırım said Turkey was planning to export its rail production to other countries, including the EU. Turkey’s rail capacity is also much more advanced stage than other countries that recently became EU members, Ergün added.