Turkish railways posts record figures for 2019
The Turkish railways have posted record figures in freight and passenger transportation for 2019, the country’s transport minister said.
The total passenger numbers through Turkey’s railways reached 149.8 million, said Cahit Turhan on Feb. 25.
The number of passengers travelled through high-speed trains grew 2 percent year-on-year to 8.3 million in 2019, he said.
“Some 17.5 million passengers travelled by conventional trains last year, rising 10 percent from 16 million previous year,” the minister added.
This success owes to the investments that have been made in the railway sector since 1950, Turhan told Anadolu Agency.
He said the quality of service on conventional trains has improved thanks to the renewal of the existing railway network, its modernization and rejuvenation of the vehicle fleet.
The Eastern Express, an overnight passenger train running between Turkey’s capital Ankara and the eastern Kars province and listed among top four routes in the world, attracted a great interest of passengers, he added.
The Marmaray, a 13.5-kilometer commuter rail and train passage connecting Istanbul’s Asian side to its European side beneath the Bosphorus Strait, welcomed 124 million passengers in 2019, Turhan noted.
He highlighted that the amount of freight transported via railways also surged to hit 29.3 million tons last year.
[HH] Huge investments
With the integration of Marmaray on the route, transportation time between the Far East and Western Europe has been reduced to 18 days.
The first Chinese freight train traveling the China Railway Express line from Xi’an, China to Europe crossed under the Bosporus Strait on Nov. 7, 2019, after setting off from Ankara a day earlier.
Turkey has invested over 767.5 billion Turkish Liras (some $334 billion) in transportation infrastructure over the last 17 years, according to the Transport and Infrastructure Ministry.
The Turkish government plans to increase the total railway length to 17,525 kilometers with the completion of a 5,509-kilometer-long new line until 2023, when the country will mark the centennial of the Republic of Turkey.