Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications Minister, Ahmet Arslan has confirmed that the ministry is looking to complete the high-speed train (YHT) line between Ankara and Sivas by late 2018 or early 2019, before eventually integrating it with the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.
"Currently it takes around seven to eight hours to travel between the two cities. We are now working on the track's electrification and signals," Arslan said.
Eventually, the Ankara-Sivas high-speed railway will be connected to the recently inaugurated Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which is being considered as an important part of the Middle Corridor in China's Belt and Road initiative.
The minister said with the YHT line, the distance between Ankara and Sivas will be reduced to 2 hours.
"YHT currently operates between Ankara and Istanbul. Once the section to Haydarpaşa Station is completed, passengers departing from Sivas will reach the station in 5 hours," he said.
Arslan said Turkey at present has a 1,213-kilometer-long high-speed train network while works on Ankara, Kırıkkale, Yozgat, and Sivas lines continued.
The ongoing Ankara-Sivas High-speed Railway project, which is one of the main axes of the railway corridor that connects Anatolia, also known as "Asia Minor" and Asian countries along the Silk Road, will be integrated into the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway Project through Sivas-Erzincan and Erzincan-Erzurum-Kars high-speed train lines.
Under the plan, a new dual, electrical and signalized YHT line, with a top speed of 250 km/h, will replace the former 603-kilometer Ankara-Sivas railway and significantly shorten the travel time between the two cities.