The last of the high-speed trains produced by Munich-based engineering giant Siemens for Turkish State Railways (TCDD) has reached the capital Ankara, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoğlu said Thursday.
The minister told Anadolu Agency (AA) that a total of 12 trains were produced in Germany under the contract signed with Siemens in 2018, with the first one delivered in November 2019.
He said they will be operated on the current 1,213 kilometers of high-speed train lines to meet the increasing demand fueled by the coronavirus pandemic, and on the new lines to be constructed and commissioned.
With the delivery of the last train, TCDD’s fleet for the high-speed trains reached 31, Karaismailoğlu said.
The minister emphasized that with the participation of five Turkish companies in the manufacturing process carried out in Germany, some parts of the train were produced domestically in Turkey.
“When we start operating the 12 high-speed trains, we will increase the number of trains on our current lines. We will organize express services with an increase in the number of trains. The time on the Ankara-Istanbul and Konya-Istanbul services will be reduced by 30 minutes. In addition, the number of daily passengers will reach 30,000 at first and then 40,000,” the minister said.
Noting that in the pre-pandemic period, 23,000 passengers were served on the Ankara-Eskişehir, Ankara-Istanbul, Ankara-Konya and Konya-Eskişehir-Istanbul lines with 44 daily trips in the winter period and 48 daily trips in the summer period, Karaismailoğlu, said in order to maintain social distancing during the pandemic, some 20 high-speed train trips were made on weekdays and 12 on weekends.
The transport minister further informed that there are eight wagons in the new train, which can reach a speed of 300 kilometers per hour.
The 483-passenger train also has three "business lounges" with a total capacity of 12 passengers, along with the business section that will have a total capacity of 45 passengers arranged in a two-plus-one seating order.
The train’s restaurant, where hot and cold meals and beverages will be offered to customers, has a capacity of 32 passengers. The high-speed trains have been designed to be "disabled-friendly," and the delivered train has two wheelchair docks, informational writing in the Braille alphabet for visually impaired passengers, and a ramp and lift for boarding.
"We were a country dependent on purchases from abroad in the rail industry, even for the most basic needs," he said, but today “with our national and domestic railway industry, we are producing the materials and vehicles needed by the industry.”
“The first domestic electric train was manufactured,” the minister said and added that soon the high-speed trains will also be manufactured in the country.