Turkish Transport Minister Binali Yildirim has announced that the country’s 576km-long high-speed railway (YHT) between Istanbul and Ankara may be opened in February 2014.
The YHT route aims to shorten journey times along with a fast, secure and safe way to travel away from roads. It is mainly a single track, apart from a 198km double section.
In an interview with Hürriyet Daily News the minister said that testing for the Istanbul-Ankara YHT had already begun.
The minister said: "We’ll begin the initiation of the Ankara-Istanbul YHT."
Designed to connect with the 13km-long Marmaray Bosphorus Tunnel, the Ankara-Istanbul YHT will reduce journey time between the cities from 6 hours 30 minutes to just 3 hours.
The Marmaray rail tunnel project was opened for revenue services on 29 October, in order to link rapid transit lines between Asia and Europe.
Turkish Railways (TCDD) divided the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed train project into two phases. The first involved the construction of a fast line between Sincan and Inonu at a cost of $747m.
The second phase covers the route between Inonu and Kosekoy, and includes the construction of 33 bridges and viaducts, and the boring of 39 tunnels to link up with the route between Kosekoy and Gebze.
TCDD expects rail transport to increase its passenger transport market share along the corridor from 10% to 78% when the full YHT route is completed and opened for public trains.
The HT65000 six-car trains manufactured by CAF, Spain, will be operated on the full length of the high-speed rail line. The new route is being equipped with French company Alcatel’s signalling and communications equipment.
Image: CAF was contracted to construct ten new high-speed trains for the Ankara-Istanbul project with a maximum speed of 250km/h. Photo: file image.