Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay, the Minister of Transport and Infrastructure Adil Karaismailoğlu and the TCDD General Manager Hasan Pezük, have launched the Ankara – Sivas high-speed line on April 26. The officials made an official journey from the capital’s central station to Sivas, towards Kars, via Erzincan, and Erzurum to underline the new direct east – west high speed connection.
The commercial services will start on April 28, 2023. The President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that the train service will be free until the end of May.
Transport to “Sivas is now faster, and our dreams become reality. Railways are getting shorter, distances are getting shorter, we are getting back to our loved ones faster. With the opening of Ankara – Sivas high-speed line, we are proud to successfully complete another important transport project,” the Minister of Transport said.
The 405 km new railway line is served by 8 stations introducing high-speed connections to the cities of Kırıkkale, Yozgat and Sivas in the Central Anatolian region which occupies 19% of the total area of Turkey. The line provides access to high-speed rail services to 1.4 million citizens living along the Ankara – Sivas corridor.
The travel time from Ankara to Sivas takes 2 hours and 6 hours from Istanbul with trains running at 250 km/h. The new high-speed line, crossing 11 cities, has cut the distance between the two cities by almost 200 km from 603 km to 405 km, reducing the travel time from 12 hours to only 2 hours.
For the first time on the high-speed train line, Turkey has been laid a total of 1,676 km of tracks using the domestic industry. The project to build the new high-speed railway included the construction of 49 viaducts totalling 27 km and 49 tunnels with a total length of 66 km, the 5.1 km Akdağmadeni tunnel being the longest one along the entire line. The 2.2 km Çerikli – Kırıkkale is the longest viaduct of the line while Elmadağ has the highest piers (89 metres high).
The line will be also used by passengers travelling from cities such as Konya, Eskişehir, including Istanbul which with the Ankara – Eskişehir – Istanbul, Ankara – Konya, Konya – Karaman will create an integrated high-speed rail network significantly reducing the travel time. In 2020, the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched the transport services on the 102 km Konya – Karaman high-speed line allowing trains to run at up to 200 km/h cutting travel times to 40 minutes from 2h and 30 minutes.
Ankara – Sivas high-speed line has been part of Turkey’s plan to develop the railway network to 13,9000 km and the high-speed system to 2,228 km and in the future, the authorities will launch projects to expand the rail network to 20,800 km. “We will provide high-speed train service to 50% of country’s population living in 20 provinces,” the minister said.
Last year, the government started the construction works for the 142 km Yerköy – Kayseri high-speed railway which will include 15 tunnels with a total length of 16 km, 118 highway underpasses and more than two bridges and 184 culverts. The line is designed to allow trains to run at up to 250 km/h.
Turkey is currently constructing more than 3,600 km of new railway connections of which more than 3,000 km include the construction of new high-speed lines. In future, the national authorities plan to build 6,700 km of new railways including high-speed and conventional lines.