Turkish premier launches new high speed train line
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated Turkey's third high-speed train line.
"Road means civilization. Railways mean civilization. These show the progress we have made. We have become a country which exports rail to the world," Erdogan told the inauguration ceremony of the high speed train line that links up the central cities of Eskisehir and Konya.
The new line completes a three-city network with an existing route between capital Ankara and Eskisehir, and another between Ankara and Konya.
"Eskisehir is the Capital of the Turkic Culture World and Konya is the capital of ancient Seljuk Empire. This railway will bring people, culture, history, civilizations, past and future together," Erdogan said.
Erdogan said Turkey had become the 8th country in the world and the 6th in Europe to use high speed trains.
"We approximately built 137 kilometers of railroad on annual average between 2004-2012, and 1,094 kilometers in total. This number is equivalent to the railroads built during the early years of our republic," he noted.
"We will materialize the Iron Silk Road from Beijing to London with the Marmaray and Baku-Tbilisi-Kars projects."
Turkey's high-speed train operations began in March 2009 with the Ankara-Eskisehir line which offers 20 round trips daily.
The line has held 26,411 services and carried 7.3 million passengers so far, forcing inter-city passenger bus fares on Ankara-Eskisehir route to drop dramatically from 55 percent to 10 percent, while increasing railway use on the route from 8 percent to 72 percent.
Services started on Ankara-Konya line in August 2011 and the number of daily services on this line is 16. So far, 7,825 round trips have been made, and 2.07 million passengers travelled on this line.
After high-speed train started serving, the share of passenger buses on Ankara-Konya route plummeted from 70 percent to 18 percent, while railway travel increased to 65 percent. There was no train service on this route prior to the launching of the high-speed train line.
Turkey's high-speed trains have carried a total of 9.4 million passengers so far.
Saturday, March 23, 2013