With new investments in high-speed trains and conventional lines, Turkey will expand its railway network to 16,675 kilometers (10,361 miles) by 2023, said the transport and infrastructure minister.
During his speech at the opening of the Turkish Railway Summit on Wednesday, Adil Karaismailoğlu said the reform process will expand the geographical scope of the country's railways.
Turkey currently has around 12,803 kilometers of railway lines, according to the General Directorate of Turkish State Railways (TCDD). It has around 1,200 kilometers of high-speed train lines.
The length of conventional lines stands at 11,590 kilometers and that of signalized lines at 6,382 kilometers. The country also has 5,753 kilometers of electrified lines.
In line with the 2023 vision, Karaismailoğlu added, the government aims at increasing the share of railways in passenger transportation from 1.3% to 3.8%.
"We are working at a great speed to produce national technologies to rehabilitate our existing lines and develop service-oriented, smart and value-added transportation," he stressed.
Stating a total of 403 new generation national freight wagons have been put into service so far, he said 100 more freight wagons will be added to this figure.
Saying Turkey has progressed in railway transportation, he stressed: "By 2023, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway line connecting Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia will contribute to the trade target of $15 billion (TL117 billion) set by Turkey and Azerbaijan."
Providing the shortest rail link between Europe and Asia, the railway line has a significant role in trade with countries like Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan along with Russian and China.
Starting off from Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, the trains stop in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, pass through gauge-changing facilities in the Georgian town of Akhalkalaki and end their journey in the eastern Turkish town of Kars.
Turkey invested TL 169.2 billion in railway investments between 2003 and 2020, he concluded.
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