Turkey uses resources wisely to develop rail network
13 February 2015 • Author(s): Suleyman Karaman, Director General, Turkish State Railways
Since 2003, the Turkish government has been paying great importance to investing in the country’s railway system and deeming the mode as being one of the most important aspects of growing sustainable development. Süleyman Karaman, Director General of Turkish State Railways (TCDD), explains that resources have been allocated to the railway sector for high-speed projects, the modernisation of the current system, the development of an advanced railway industry, and for restructuring.
Improvement of passenger and freight transport within the overall transportation system enables both the construction of a healthier and more balanced system, plus strengthens the strategic importance of Turkey functioning as a bridge between Asia and Europe; thereby establishing a substantial and seamless railway corridor.
A new life with high-speed trains
Turkey now ranks 6th in Europe and 8th in the world of countries operating high-speed trains. The country’s high-speed railway projects are taken into service within a short construction timeframe and at a low-cost. Within this framework, Turkey’s first high-speed railway line between Ankara and Eskis5ehir was opened in 2009. The Ankara–Konya line, the Konya–Eskis5 ehir line, and the Ankara–Istanbul line all followed in 2011, 2013, and 2014 respectively, bringing the total corridor length of Turkey’s high-speed railway lines to 1,420km, and the total length of entire railway lines in Turkey to 12,629km.
Furthermore, construction work on the Ankara–Bursa, Ankara–İzmir, and Ankara–Sivas high-speed railway lines are still on-going.
Sixteen cities will be connected once all work is completed, bringing a new railway journey culture in Turkey and expanding the high-speed railway reach to approximately 37 million people. Journey times between cities will be decreased significantly – for example, the journey time will be reduced up to 2 hours between Ankara and Sivas, 5 hours between Istanbul and Sivas, 2 hours and 15 minutes between Bursa and Ankara and Bursa to Istanbul, and 3 hours and 30 minutes on the line between Ankara and İzmir.