Turkish transport minister posing at a tunnel for the high-speed railway line

Turkey’s new Ankara-İzmir high-speed railway to open in 2027

Turkish Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Abdulkadir Uraloğlu at a tunnel construction site for the Ankara-İzmir high-speed railway Ministry of Transport Turkey

The new high-speed railway line which will connect Ankara and İzmir in 3.5 hours is set to start operations in 2027, Turkey’s Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Abdulkadir Uraloğlu announced when visiting the project this week. 

The Ankara-İzmir high-speed line is currently under construction, and the Turkish minister visited a tunnel construction site for the project. With its 624-kilometre future length, the new railway connection will be 200 kilometres shorter than the existing railway between the two cities, due to its tunnels and viaducts: in total the line will consist of 49 tunnels with a length of 40.7 kilometres, 67 viaducts with a length of 21.2 kilometres, and 66 bridges.

It will connect the capital Ankara in central Turkey with İzmir on the Mediterranean coast. Combined with the higher speed, the travel time by rail will be majorly reduced from 14 hours to 3 hours and 30 minutes. “With 9 stations, more than 7 million people living in Afyonkarahisar, Uşak, Manisa and İzmir provinces will directly meet with the comfort of high-speed trains”, says Transport Minister Uraloğlu. “Considering the interaction with surrounding provinces such as Kütahya, the population benefiting from the YHT service will increase even more. It will increase the trade volume in the region by bringing İzmir, the third largest city of our country with its industry, tourism potential and port, and the provinces of Manisa, Uşak and Afyonkarahisar on the route closer to Ankara.”

Major high-speed railway plans

Minister Uraloğlu noted that railway travel, which has not been preferred by citizens for many years, has now been transformed into the “first address” of fast and comfortable travel. The Turkish ministry expects to carry approximately 13.3 million passengers and 90 million tons of cargo per year on the line.

The new Ankara-İzmir railway is not the only high-speed line that Turkey is building. Turkey is majorly expanding its rail infrastructure with new high-speed lines. The aim is to more than double that to 28,590 kilometres by 2053. “By expanding high-speed train lines until 2053, we will increase the number of provinces connected to each other with this system from 8 to 52″, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last year.

There are plans of converting the existing rail link between the cities of Mersin, Adana, Osmaniye and Gaziantep into a high-speed line, with financing from the UK government’s export credit agency UKEF. In addition, work started in July this year for a high-speed rail connection from Istanbul to the Bulgarian border. Last year, the start was made for a high-speed line connecting Ankara to Kayseri, an important industrial city further east, and the tunnelling activities for a new high-speed line connecting Ankara and Istanbul to Bursa were completed.

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Author: Esther Geerts

Editor RailTech.com

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