Turkey is due to restart its famed touristic railway route that runs from the country’s capital to the snow-covered east, the country’s infrastructure and transport minister said Tuesday.
Turkey’s mainline trains, including the Eastern Express, were paused last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first Eastern Express train will depart from the capital Ankara on its journey to eastern Kars province on Dec. 15, Adil Karaismailoğlu said in a statement. The first train from Kars will leave two days later.
Trains will depart from the capital every Wednesday and Friday, while they will leave Kars on Fridays and Sundays, the minister said.
The Eastern Express became extremely popular after people started sharing photos of the scenery on social media. The huge interest in the experience made the Turkish State Railways (TCDD) put a new train into service on the same line solely for tourism after it became so popular that people trying to reach eastern Turkey by train could no longer find tickets.
Before the express became so popular, the average age of passengers was 50, but university students, photographers, tourists and influencers soon became the biggest groups to travel on the line before the pandemic.
Photographers and videographers are frequent passengers, as the experience provides a wealth of landscapes and vistas, especially during wintertime.
After leaving Ankara, the Eastern Express makes brief stops in the eastern cities of Kırıkkale, Kayseri, Sivas, Erzincan and Erzurum before reaching Kars. The 1,300-kilometer (808-mile) long route lasts nearly 32 hours.
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