Azerbaijan, Baku, March 2 / Trend A.Taghiyeva /
By October 2013, major part of the construction work within the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project will be completed, Turkish Transport Minister Binali Yildirim said at a meeting with Transport Minister Ziya Mammadov and Georgian Economy Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Ihlas agency reported on Saturday.
According to Yildirim, the sides agreed to accelerate the construction work within the project during a meeting at the fifth session of the Tripartite Council for the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project.
"It is expected that the first test train will be sent via the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway by late 2013," Yildirim said.
Yildirim also stressed that after the opening of the railway tunnel "Marmara", which will connect Istanbul's European and Anatolian sides, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be of world importance.
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is constructed based on the Georgian-Azerbaijani-Turkish intergovernmental agreement.
Azerbaijan allocated a loan worth $775 million to construct the Georgian section. The State Oil Fund finances this project in accordance with a presidential decree on the 'Implementation of measures within the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project', dated Feb.21, 2007. The State Oil Fund has allocated $431.3 million since the beginning of financing the project until Jan.1, 2013.
Construction of a new 105-kilometre railway section of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project is planned. Moreover, the section of the Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi-Marabda railway will be reconstructed in Georgia which will increase its capacity to 15 million tons of cargo per year. It is planned to build a centre in Akhalkalaki for the transition of trains from existing train tracks in Georgia to European ones.
The corridor's peak capacity will be 17 million tons of cargo. This figure will be at the level of one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo in its initial stages.