World Bulletin/News Desk
A long-expected Turkish rail transport corridor called Marmaray will see the major cities of Beijing and London be connected with a rail line for the first time, a senior official said on Thursday.
Begun in 2004, construction of an undersea tunnel between the European and Asian shores of Istanbul now nears completion. The Marmaray project is one of the biggest transportation infrastructure projects in the world, featuring a 76-kilometer-long railway system that crosses the Bosporus at a depth of 60 meters.
Suleyman Karaman, the director of Turkish State Railways (TCDD) said on Thursday in Istanbul that Turkey is preparing to not only revolutionize its national transportation system but also to provide an alternative route to the Middle East, Middle Asia and the Far East, the fast-emerging global economy and energy hubs.
Karaman said an Eskisehir-İstanbul high-speed train line that incorporates the Marmaray line will be completed by the end of 2013, adding on to the initial connection between the continents of Asia and Europe. The Eskisehir-İstanbul high-speed train line will decrease the time required to travel between Ankara and İstanbul to three hours, compared to the current six-hour journey.
Evaluating the developments in the Turkish railway sector, Karaman said Turkey has invested a total of $26 billion in railway infrastructure over the last decade. Karaman said they expected the Marmaray project be complete by September 30, 2013.
Karaman also noted that other high-speed train line projects such as Ankara-Sivas, Ankara-Bursa and Ankara-Izmir were under construction and expected to be completed by 2023. This will mean a total of 10,000 kilometers of high-speed train lines built in Turkey by 2023.
The TCDD head said with Marmaray and the Kars-Tbilisi-Baku railway project that links Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, an “Iron Silk Road” will be established allowing passenger and cargo traffic from Europe to reach destinations as far away as Middle Asia and China more quickly via Turkey.Last Mod: 26 Nisan 2013, 11:33