The initial test runs for the Ankara-İzmir high-speed train will begin next year as the line is scheduled to carry its first passengers in 2019.
The TL 4.9 billion ($1.32 billion) project connecting Ankara and İzmir will cut down the current travel time of 14 hours by road to just three-and-a-half hours. Besides İzmir, the line will also connect Manisa, Uşak and Afyonkarahisar to Ankara, and bring down the 824-kilometer (512-mile) distance between the Turkish capital and Izmir to 624 kilometers. According to the official figures, preference for the high-speed train has increased substantially in Turkey. So far, more than 34 million people have benefited from the high-speed train services that run on the Ankara-Eskişehir-Istanbul, Ankara-Konya and Konya-Eskişehir-Istanbul lines.
Meanwhile, construction on another high-speed rail line that will reduce the distance between Ankara and Sivas to 405 kilometers has reached 75 percent in all sections, while the tender process for the superstructure work on the project is still on the way. Work on the Bursa Bilecik, Konya-Karaman-Ulukışla (Niğde) and Mersin-Adana-Osmaniye-Gaziantep high-speed rail lines are also ongoing.