While Turkey’s neighbours step forward in transit rail traffic, Turkey is working on the transit rail freight projects to increase its share of transit traffic in region, which is almost nothing by now.
Here are those projects and their statuses:
Although Europe-Asia rail connection is currently provided by Tekirdag-Derince rail ferry, everybody is looking forward to using Marmaray tunnel which will provide fast, cheap and continuous connection. The Marmaray will be used by suburban trains during day and freight train during night. The expected commission date of Marmaray is end of 2018.
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will be the shortest rail route between Turkey and Central Asia/China. Turkey is expecting to get share from Europe-China traffic as well. After many delays, the railway is announced to be opened this summer. Regular commercial traffic may wait a little more.
Van Lake ferries
The only rail connection between Turkey and Iran/Central Asia is passing through Van Lake, which is a real bottleneck with small and old ferries. The new two ferries will have 5 times capacity each. One is ready, waiting for the ramp, expected to start on late 2017. Other is under construction.
Nusaybin border crossing
Turkey’s rail border crossing to Syria and Iraq, Nusaybin, is currently closed due to security reasons. The line is not expected to open before the situation in Syria calms down.
The rail ferry service between Samsun and Kavkaz is no more rail connected in Turkey, due to engineering works on Samsun-Kalin stretch. The line is expected to be commisioned by the end of 2018.
The direct rail connection to Iraq via Habur project is currently on paper. The project was announced to be commissioned in 2018, but has not started yet. The railway stretch between Gaziantep and Nusaybin is yet kept closed due to security reasons. Thus, there seems no reason to expect the extension before situation in Syria calms down.
There’s a plan ofalternative rail connection to Iran via Nakhichevan. This line will solve the capacity problems of Van Lake route to Iran. However, there’s no fund for this project yet.
Cover Photo: V. ©