BTK map

Turkey Transport Minister Lütfi Elvan has announced that the construction of a 79km-long railway route in Turkey is to be completed in 2015.

The $700m line is part of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway project, which is a regional railway link that connects Kars in Turkey, Tbilisi in Georgia and Baku in Azerbaijan.

Elvan was quoted by local news agency Daily Sabah as saying: "Between 2003 and 2013, a total of YTL32.5bn ($14.3bn) was invested in the railway sector.

Our target for 2023 is to renew and modernise 25,000km of railways, out of which 12,000km will be ultra-speed and high-speed railways. 10% of this current system will serve passenger trains, 15% will serve freight trains and all trains will be constructed by Turkish companies."

"Our target for 2023 is to renew and modernise 25,000km of railways, out of which 12,000km will be ultra-speed and high-speed railways."

The project aims to enhance trade and economic relations between the regions and also to secure foreign investment through connecting with Europe and Asia.

Once completed, the line will be offering passenger services along with freight, especially oil transportation.

In the initial stage, capacity of the line will be 6.5 million tons of consignments and one million passengers and the line is expected to produce $50m a year.

According to estimates, the railway line will be capable of carrying 17 million tons of cargo and about three million passengers by 2030.

The project was originally scheduled for completion in 2010. Elvan said that currently 83% of the project has been completed.


Image: A map of Kars-Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Baku railway in Turkey. Photo: courtesy of Maximilian Dörrbecker.