753 - Kars Baku Tbilisi railway - Azerbaijan Railways

First freight train to depart on Baku-Tblisi-Kars railway


By the end of this month, the first freight train will depart from Baku to Kars, to be the first train using Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.

Transportation Minister Mr Ahmet Arslan announced that the first freight train will depart by the end of October 2017 on Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.  The ceremony will be held on 30th October at Baku, and train will depart from Baku to Kars. Loads will be distributed to all over Turkey from there.

Although this is a special train, it’s a very important step since border customs, terminal services, CIM/SMGS documentation will be tested for the first time.

Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is on focus of companies having business in Caucasus, Central Asia and China. Here are the most popular questions about the project nowadays:

What’s the price on this line?

Although three railway operators are working on a single tariff on this line, it’s not announced yet.

Will regular train service starts this month?

No, this is a special train organized for opening ceremony.

What’s the transit time?

Freight trains are expected to complete this 840-km-long line between Baku and Kars in 2 days.

Will the freight train run continuously?

No, train will run on broad gauge from Baku to Akhalkalaki and should continue on standard gauge from there to Turkey. Either loads have to be transhipped, or axles of wagons have to be changed. If wagons of Azerbaijan Railways continue by changing axles, the final destination will be Kars. Then loads have to be transhipped to either trucks or Turkish wagons there.

Is the terminal at Akhalkalaki ready?

There should be terminal services like axle change, container storage and handling, CIM/SGMS documentation, customs declarations, shunting at Akhalkalaki terminal and operators/forwarders should have staff there to follow their processes. These are not 100% ready.

Cover Photo: Azerbaijan Railways ©

Written by Onur Uysal

Railway consultant. Owner of RT Media & Consultancy. Founder and editor of Rail Turkey.

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