Turkey’s longest, most iconic train journey resumes after virus shutdown
Covering one of the longest routes in Turkey and offering over 24 hours of train travel, the Eastern Express resumed its services after a suspension due to coronavirus-related restrictions in the country.
The overnight passenger train operated by the Turkish State Railways (TCDD), which runs 1,310 kilometers between Ankara and Kars railway stations, departed from the eastern province of Kars on July 13.
After leaving Kars, the Eastern Express made brief stops in the eastern cities of Erzurum, Erzincan, Sivas, Kayseri and Kırıkkale before reaching Ankara.
Mainly drawing great attention from international tourists and local university students, as well as travel and sightseeing enthusiasts, the first train of the express was sent off with a ceremony held at Kars railway station.
Kars Deputy Governor Mehmet Zahid Doğu and Provincial Culture and Tourism Director Hayrettin Çetin visited the train and spoke with passengers.
“Everyone is looking forward to this train. I ask people to follow coronavirus measures despite the normalization process,” Doğu said.
The express’s popularity rose after photos and videos from travelers created a social media sensation, carrying thousands of backpackers to Kars and tourism spots close to the city.
Before being a big hit, the average age of passengers was 50, while university students, photographers, tourists and influencers soon became the biggest groups to travel on the line.
Continuing nonstop since its opening before the pandemic, the express is one of the first choices of adventure seekers that want to take a cultural tour through Anatolia.