Istanbul-Ankara fast train begins operations

Istanbul-Ankara fast train begins operations

ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
Istanbul-Ankara fast train begins operations

The train has reduced the travel time between the two cities to 3.5 hours. AA Photo

Turkey’s long-awaited 8.6 billion Turkish Lira ($4.1 billion) high-speed train link between Istanbul and Ankara has begun operating from Istanbul’s Pendik station.

The high-speed service, which has reduced the travel time between Istanbul and Ankara to three-and-a-half hours, will be free of charge for the first week of operation. Train driver Özdemir Sırmagül yesterday told Anadolu Agency that the 409-passenger capacity train was full as a result of intense interest and the fact most Turkish citizens were on holiday for the feast to mark the end of Ramadan, creating an increased demand for transport. Twelve trains will run in the first week, Sırmagül added.
Tickets for the Ankara-Istanbul service are priced at 70 lira, which children aged under seven can ride free of charge.

Children between the ages of 1 and 12 pay 35 liras. Discounted tickets are also available for students (55 liras) and senior citizens (35 liras).

The high-speed service was first introduced in 2009 between Ankara and Eskişehir. The latest line links Eskişehir to Istanbul – joining Turkey’s political and financial capitals. The original track has proved immensely popular with Turkish passengers, carrying 15 million since its launch, Turkish State Railways said. An estimated 7.5 million passengers are expected to use the new line.

The new addition to the country’s high-speed network means 1,420 kilometer of track can now carry the faster trains.

There are plans to increase the network to 3,500 kilometers by the centenary of the Turkish Republic in 2023.