On 25 July, the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan inaugurated the High Speed services between Ankara and Istanbul.
The main rail link between the two biggest cities of the country consists of 527 km of both new high speed lines and upgraded section lines.
The first section, from Sincan – 24 km from Ankara – to Eskisehir, 221 km in length, opened to revenue service in 2008 at 250 km/h.
The second section, from Eskisehir to Izmit, 188 km, inaugurated on 25 July, is in its final assembly phase and will soon be operating services at 250 km/h.
The last section inaugurated on 25 July, from Izmit to Pendik, 56 km, is an upgrade of the existing line, and is to operate at 160 km/h.
A further section from Pendik to Istanbul Haydarpasa, 45 km, is to be upgraded together with the huge Marmaray project (tunnel and extended lines on both the European and Asian sides of the city).
No decision has been taken yet about the possible extension of High Speed services (YHT) to the European side of Istanbul, throughout the Marmaray tunnel.
The journey time from Ankara to Istanbul (Pendik) will be 3.5 hours with 10 services per day (not yet confirmed).
Iñaki Barrón de Angoiti, Director of the Passenger and High Speed Department, represented the UIC Director General, Jean-Pierre Loubinoux at the inauguration ceremony, which consisted of a round trip between Ankara – Pendik, including several political events at the different stations along the route (Eskisehir, Bilecik and Pendik).
The ambitious plan developed by the National Railways Corporation, TCDD, demonstrates the strong interest of the Turkish Government in modernising the country through significant investment in transport infrastructure, particularly high speed railways.
UIC is proud to have participated in this inauguration of a new high speed link in the world.
This link is part of a future high speed network showing the determination of TCDD, our member, and Turkish authorities, to develop rail infrastructure and rail services at the service of social and economic development.
With the recent achievement of the rail link under the Bosporus, linking Europe and Asia, Turkey has become a leading player in railways at the intersection of exchanges between continents.
UIC conveys its warmest congratulations to Turkish Authorities and Turkish State Railways TCDD and in particular to Mr Süleyman Karaman and TCDD Management and staff for this outstanding achievement and this new milestone in the development of an effective rail transport system for the Middle-East.
Further information to be published in a forthcoming issue of UIC eNews.