The government will upgrade 70 percent of the railways to "double" lanes, a dramatic increase from the current proportion of only 4 percent of the country's network, Transport Minister Binali Yildirim has said Hurriyetdailynews reported.
Yildirim said 96 percent of the conventional railways were still single-lane and work had already started to build double-lane railways.
"The double-lane, which was successfully applied to the highways, is now being applied to the railways. Only 4 percent of our 11,120 kilometers conventional railway network is double-lane, only 446 kilometers in total. Seventy percent of the conventional railway network will be double-lane in framework of our 2023 targets," he said in an interview on Oct. 15.
Nine stops between Ankara and Istanbul
Yildirim stressed that the private sector's involvement in railway transportation was contributing to Turkey's becoming a "global player" in the field.
A draft code, presented to Parliament on March 6, aimed to establish a company under the name Turkish State Railways (TCDD) Transport AŞ for train management units. Public and private legal entities and firms will also be licensed to build their own railway infrastructure, become infrastructure operators on these railways and manage trains on the national railway network.
The Istanbul-Ankara high-speed railway (YHT), slated to open in a month, will reportedly have nine stops: Polatli, Eskisehir, Bozuyuk, Bilecik, Pamukova, Sapanca, İzmit, Gebze and Pendik. The journey between Istanbul and Ankara is expected to last three hours in total.
The Ankara-Istanbul YHT will also be linked to the Marmaray, Istanbul's massive rail tunnel project that will carry passengers under the Bosphorus, through the Pendik suburban train station. It will enable an uninterrupted travel from Asia to Europe.
TCDD director Suleyman Karaman said in July that once the new rail lines were built and the trains were operational, they would adopt a price policy "cheaper than planes and more expensive than buses."
The TCDD will announce a record tender of 6 billion Turkish Liras in a bid to buy new trains, Karaman said. "The tender will include a total of 106 train units. As it is such a big tender, we will include the condition of establishing a train factory in Turkey and impose a 51 percent minimum local purchasing condition," he said.
Yildirim said the investments were slated to increase to 45 billion liras by 2023, as railways for YHT were planned to reach 10,000 kilometers. "We will connect 15 cities with YHT," he said, adding the total length of the railway networks would increase from 11,000 kilometers to 25,500 in the country.
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