A new high speed rail link between Turkey’s two most important cities could be up and running as soon as early next year, a further example of the country’s bullish plans to bring its transport system up to world-class standards.
According to a statement by Turkish Transport Minister Binali Yildirim in November, the 576-kilometre-long high-speed railway between Istanbul and Ankara could be opened in February 2014 and testing on the track has begun.
The new rail link is predominantly a single track, apart from a 198-kilometre double section, and will provide a fast and secure alternative to driving between the two cities. Designed to connect with the new 13-kilometre-long Marmaray Tunnel, which opened in October and links the two side of Istanbul, the Ankara-Istanbul YHT will reduce journey time between the cities from 6 hours 30 minutes to just 3 hours. Developments in Istanbul should benefit from much improved transport links.
The $4 billion Istanbul-Ankara rail link and Marmaray Tunnel are the latest in a number of ambitious urban development projects by the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, all of which are expected to be a shot in the arm for investors of property in Turkey. Others projects include a third bridge over the Bosphorus in Istanbul, a redesign of Taksim Square and the construction of the world’s largest airport.
Planning of the six-runway airport is underway – it will be constructed on 77 million square metres of land near Istanbul, and boast a capacity of 150 million passengers a year once up and running – 60 million more than Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, currently the busiest in the world. The airport will be built in four stages. The first will be completed in 2017, after which it will be operational with an annual capacity of 90 million.
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