News about new railway from Nusaybin to Habur connecting Turkey to Iraq found great space in media at the weekend. Here are some facts about the project:
Direct railway to Iraq border
Most important target of this project is to construct an alternative railway connection to Iraq. Current connection to Iraq is through Syria, which is closed for more than 2 years due to war in Syria. With this railway, trains will be able to reach to densely used border gate of Turkey to Iraq, Habur. The closest railway in Iraq is still 100 km away from Habur, which is needed for further connection to Iraq.
120 km railway
Although railway is announced as 133 km in media, it is declared as 120km in the SWS Engineering’s website, the company to complete preliminary analysis. The line has 4 km of viaducts, 8 km of tunnels and 4 stations. The line is expected to be one line but ready for two lines. The reason to be called as “high speed train connection to Iraq” is that railway will fulfill the new standards, enables 120 km/h speed for freight trains and 160 km/h speed for passenger trains.
Project is worth 430mn TL
The railway project costs 430 million TL (EUR 150mn). The amount, 1.6 bn TL, mentioned in almost all media is the total budget for GAP (Southeast Anatolia Project) Action Plan which also includes renewal, signalization and electrification of current lines in the region.
%5 development in 2015, planned to end 2018
The project of constructing railway has 20 million TL budget for this year. This is more likely for completion of preliminary analysis and detailed plans of railway, viaducts, tunnels and stations. Most probably the tender will be opened and finalized within this year. The completion date for project is written as 2018 in investment program.
Railway connection to Nusaybin
The railway between Gaziantep and Nusaybin, which follows the border of Turkey with Syria is now kept closed due to unsafe situation in region. That means not only Nusaybin is not reachable by trains, but also the signalization and electrification of the line may wait for the end of war in Syria.
EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment) report has been published recently for the project. Next steps are expropriation, preparation of construction drawings, final project plans and then the tender. The construction works will start after completion of tender process.