The scope, route, targets and history of Baku-Tblisi-Kars railway project which is currently under construction and will connect Kars (Turkey) to Baku (Azerbaijan) and Central Asia via Tblisi (Georgia):
Owner: Turkish State Railways (Kars-Akhalkalaki) and Azerbaijan Railways (Akhalkalaki-Baku)
Project cost: TL 12.15 bn
Contractor: Özgün Yapı & Çelikler Consortium (Kars-Akhalkalaki section)
Duration: 700 days
Target commission date: 2017
Line between Baku- Azerbaijan/Georgian border (503 km) and Azerbaijan/Georgian border-Akhalkalaki (230 km) was modernized. Line between Akhalkalaki-Georgian/Turkish border (29 km) and Georgian/Turkish border-Kars (76.6 km) is under construction. This line under construction has 22 tunnels of 18-km-long and 2 viaducts of 550 meters.
Line length: 838.6 km
Baku (connection to Central Asia and China via Caspian Sea) – Tbilisi (connection to Poti port) – Akhalkalaki (break of gauge) – Kars (connection to Turkish national rail network)
The railway will have 1mn passenger/year capacity. By the construction of second line in 20 years, the capacity will be increased to 3 mn. The railway will have 6.5 mn ton freight capacity. That will be increased to 17 mn to in 20 years.
- 1993 – Turkey-Armenia border crossing closed.
- January 2005 – Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey agreed for a new railway connection.
- November 2007 – Kick off ceremony at Marabda (Tiflis) by participation of presidents of three countries.
- May 2008 – Özgün Yapı & Çelikler Consortium awarded for the section Turkey overtook. Contract period: 700 days.
- July 2008 – Construction works started at Kars. Target commission date was announced as 2010.
- June 2014 – Azerbijan Railways agreed with Stadler for the production of passenger coaches to run between Baku and Istanbul.
- January 2015 – First test train run on renewed Ahkalkalaki-Tblisi section.
- July 2017 – First test train run between Kars and Turkish-Georgian border.
Cover Photo: Azerbaijan Railways ©