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Allocation of resources secure long-term growth

Posted: 8 April 2008 | İsa Apaydin, Deputy Director General, Turkish Railways (TCDD) | No comments yet

The history of Turkish Railways started with the construction of the I.zmir-Aydın line during the Ottoman period in 1856. During this period, 8,500km of railway lines were constructed and 4,000km of the total length of this network remained within the existing national boundaries.

The history of Turkish Railways started with the construction of the I.zmir-Aydın line during the Ottoman period in 1856. During this period, 8,500km of railway lines were constructed and 4,000km of the total length of this network remained within the existing national boundaries.

The history of Turkish Railways started with the construction of the I.zmir-Aydın line during the Ottoman period in 1856. During this period, 8,500km of railway lines were constructed and 4,000km of the total length of this network remained within the existing national boundaries.

Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic and its first President, launched the railway mobilisation and 3,400km of new lines were completed within 15 years. The Turkish rail network then paved way for economic, social and cultural developments. In 1950, the share of the railways reached 50%.

After 1950, the attention changed direction and the main policy focused on road construction which meant that during the next 60 years, only 1,700km of new lines were added to the network. During this period, the share of the railways declined by 5% in freight transportation and 3% in passenger transportation.

Transportation, the most basic public service, has been dependent on road development. During this process, Turkey has made more payments to the oil industry and it has been recorded that approximately 250,000 citizens were killed in road traffic accidents over the last 60 years.

However, despite these matters, 2003 was a landmark year for Turkish Railways and changes were afoot to bring the national rail network back into the 21st century.

Since this landmark year, railways have once again become a state policy. Resources have increased significantly for railway systems and with the allocation of budgets for specific projects, railway transportation has raised its priorities.

Using these new resources, high-speed lines are to be constructed, planned and upgraded to the existing railway network which will allow the private sector’s participation in developing the railway industry and restructuring railway lines.

With the widespread allocation of high-speed train lines, the policy aims to commence passenger transportation by high-speed trains on the core network. Such lines include I.stanbul-Ankara-Sivas, Ankara-Afyon-I.zmir and Ankara-Konya corridors, using Ankara as the hub station.

In addition to the above tracks, plans have been made to start the construction studies of the Bursa-Osmaneli high-speed train project.

Ankara-Istanbul High-Speed Project

The construction of the Ankara-Istanbul High-Speed Project was launched on 8 June 2003. This project aims to reduce the travel time between Ankara-Eskisehir to just 1 hour and 5 minutes and between Ankara-Istanbul to only approximately 3 hours.

The infrastructure work to the track section between Esenkent-Eskis5ehir has already been completed. High-speed test drives have been conducted and plans are in place to complete the work on this track section during 2008. The intention is to complete the construction of the track sections between Sincan-Esenkent and Eskisehir-I.nönü as soon as possible.

Also adding to the development is a contract between TCDD and various consortiums which has been signed to construct the track sections between İnönü-Vezirhan (54km) and Vezirhan-Köseköy (104km) which will be 100% funded by an external loan. The loans secured to finance these projects amount to USD 720 million from Chinese Eximbank and around USD 550 million from the European Investment Bank.

Twelve High-Speed train sets, which are to be operated between Ankara-Istanbul, have begun manufacturing in Spain. Two have already been delivered and it is estimated that the remaining train sets will be introduced to the TCDD fleet by the end of February 2010.

Moreover, with the actualisation of this project, the travel time between Ankara-Balıkesir-İzmir, which is connected to this line, will be reduced by two hours.

Ankara-Konya High-Speed Project

The Ankara-Konya High-Speed Project is integrated with the Ankara-Istanbul High-Speed Project in Polatlı and uses the same route of 94km length between Ankara-Polatlı.

With the Ankarai-I.zmir High-Speed Project, the implementation projects of which have been completed, the integration from Kocahacılı towards the direction of Konya and Polatlı has also been provided.

The total length of the line is 306km and the track section under construction is 212km. The scope of the project covers Ankara-Polatlı-Konya routes. The infrastructure operations of the project have been tendered in two phases.

After completion of the Ankara-Konya line, the journey times will be reduced from 10 hours and 30 minutes to just 1 hour and 15 minutes.

After completion of the Istanbul-Konya line, the journey times will be reduced from currently 12 hours and 25 minutes to just 3 hours and 30 minutes.

Ankara-Sivas High-Speed Project

In order to reduce the travel time from 11 hours to 3 hours between Ankara and Sivas, there are plans to construct the a high-speed line which will amount to 466km in distance. The Ankara-Sivas High-Speed Project, which is an important track section on the East-West axis, is intended to be completed by 2011. The project has been tendered and the offer will be taken on 15 April 2008.

Ankara-Izmir High-Speed Project

The distance between Ankara and Izmir is 824km and the travel time between the two points is 14 hours. By introducing a high-speed line along this route, the journey time between Ankara and İzmir will be reduced to just 3 hours and 20 minutes. The Ankara-Izmir High-Speed Project is included in the investment programme.

Conclusion

The work for the modernisation of physical infrastructure and superstructure on the Turkish Railway network is being carried out within the scope of the original investment programme. This is the introduction of modern technology, construction of new rail lines, renewal of rolling stock, building new manufacturing facilities and rehabilitation of new ones. This is an extensive programme of operations which Turkish Railways are investing a lot of time, money and effort to succeed in.

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