The Ankara-Sivas high-speed railway will open by the end of May next year, according to Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Cahit Turhan.
"Nearly 95% of the physical infrastructure is complete," Turhan said.
Once completed, it will be Turkey's second-longest railway line after the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed line. The 405-kilometer line will also constitute one of Turkey's most important axles of the railway corridor, connecting Asian countries on the Silk Road route and Asia Minor.
The railway line is being developed at an estimated cost of TL 9 billion and will reduce travel time between Ankara and Sivas from 12 hours to just two hours.
The project includes 49 tunnels, totaling some 66 kilometers in length, with the longest being around 5.12 kilometers long. It will also have 53 viaducts totaling 27.5 kilometers in length. The line will also include 611 bridges and culverts structure and 217 overpasses and underpasses.
Minister Turhan said the rail lying work has reached 100 kilometers between the central province Yozgat's Yerköy district and Sivas. He also noted that rail lying works have started between Yerköy and Kırıkkale and 8 kilometers have been completed so far.
The minister said the overall physical progress in the Kayaş-Yerköy section was at 7.72% and 28.72% in the Yerköy-Sivas section. A total of 222 kilometers of single-line rail has been laid.
He also noted that works on the superstructure electrification and signalization telecommunications systems continue.
Emphasizing that infrastructure work has been significantly completed, Turhan noted that works on viaducts and tunnels will be completed in the coming months.
He said test drive will start on the line toward the end of the year. "We want to open this line to traffic in stages. The project is planned to be completed and made operational by the next Ramadan Bayram [Eid al-fitr]."
The minister previously said an amount of TL 133 billion have been invested to mobilize Turkey's transportation sector, to realize the full the potential of the country's geographical location, which makes it a natural logistics base.
Turkey plans to invest 70 billion euros ($76.96 billion) in the rail transport industry, including infrastructure, over the next 15 years.
Since 2003, Turkey has built tracks for high-speed trains and currently is engaged in constructing a rail network expanding over 2,000 kilometers.
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