Turkish railways have posted record figures in freight and passenger transportation for 2019, the country's transport minister said.
This success is a reflection of the investments made in the railway sector since 1950, Cahit Turhan told Anadolu Agency (AA) Tuesday. The number of passengers traveling by high-speed trains grew 2% year-on-year to 8.3 million in 2019, the minister announced.
He said the quality of service on conventional trains has improved thanks to the renewal of the existing railway network, its modernization and rejuvenation of the vehicle fleet.
"Some 17.5 million passengers traveled by conventional trains last year, rising 10% from 16 million the previous year," Turhan added.
The Eastern Express, an overnight passenger train running between Turkey's capital Ankara and the eastern Kars province and listed among the top four routes in the world, has drawn a large number of passengers, he added.
The Marmaray, a 13.5-kilometer (8.4-mile) commuter rail and train passage connecting Istanbul's Asian side to its European side beneath the Bosporus, welcomed 124 million passengers in 2019, Turhan noted.
Also, some 14 million passengers used Başkentray, a suburban line of the capital Ankara.
Thus, the total passenger numbers across the country's railways reached 149.8 million.
He highlighted that the amount of freight transported via rail also surged to hit 29.3 million tons last year.
The international railway corridor known as the "Middle Corridor,” which was integrated with the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) Railway, emerged as a route connecting Asia and Europe in the most economic and shortest way, also contributing to the country's railway transport volume.
Linking Turkey, Azerbaijan and Georgia, the 826-kilometer BTK railway project started operations in October 2017.
The project also connects the U.K., France, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and China.
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