Number of passengers through Marmaray tunnel exceeds 300,000 on first day
Azerbaijan, Baku, October 31/Trend, R.Hafizoglu/
On the first day of functioning, the number of passengers travelling through the Marmaray tunnel exceeded 300,000, Anadolu agency reported on Thursday.
According to the agency, it was expected that this figure would exceed 200,000 on the first day.
The Marmaray rail tunnel that connects the Eastern and European parts of Turkey was commissioned on October 29.
The official opening ceremony was attended by Turkish President Abdullah Gul, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Minister of Transport, Shipping and Communications Binali Yildirim, Azerbaijani Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as representatives of the governments of Afghanistan, Georgia, Bulgaria and Romania.
The length of the tunnel is 13.6 kilometres. Trains depart every two minutes. The transport capacity for each direction will be about 1.2 million passengers per day.
It was earlier said that this is the only project of its kind allowing the transport of both passengers and cargo through one tunnel.
After commissioning the tunnel, the volume of rail transport in Istanbul will increase by 20 per cent, up to 28 per cent of the total transit volume.
The Marmaray railway project will serve passengers free of charge within 15 days from the date of opening.
Earlier, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Marmaray project will be one of the most powerful projects in the region.
In addition, it was reported that Turkish Minister of Transport, Shipping and Communications Binali Yildirim said that the Marmaray tunnel will contribute to the development of not only Turkey, but neighbouring countries.
According to him, the Marmaray project is a new rail Silk Road.
The Minister said besides the Marmaray tunnel, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project is one of the country's global projects.