Minister of Tourism introduced new project: Tourism trains.
As overnight trains, especially Dogu Express becomes very popular and sold out in seconds, Minister of Tourism introduced new project: Tourism trains to run on popular lines of Turkey.
Minester of Tourism, Mr Ersoy, said that Dogu Express has started to be used for mainly for tourism rather than transportation, thus a new concept, tourism trains, are needed on some routes.
How can tourism trains change train travel, how will they differ? Here are things that will change with tourism trains:
Dogu Express is one of the main transport alternatives for some regions on the way. Thus train is calling at more than 50 stations on way. Tourism train will only stop at a couple of touristic stations. The travel time will go down from 24 to less than 20 hours. Though passengers do not expect faster train, less stops will increase the pleasure.
Dogu Express calls at stations very short, during passengers gett on/off or supply of fuel/water for train. Tourism train may stop at Erzurum, Erzincan, Kayseri etc longer so that passengers spend some time in the cities.
Short city tours even may be organized in coordination with TCDD.
Dining car of Dogu Express has a simple menü, far from a qualified restaurant service. Tourism train may offer “special menus” which passengers currently try to do by themselves.
Dogu Express is a subsidized train. Thus TCDD cannot increase the number of departures though there’s a big demand. Tourism train will not be subsidized. Thus ticket fares will be much more expensive. But it’ll still be far cheaper than tours.
There are many touristic destinations especially in Central and Eastern Anatolia where train Access will make them even more popular. Cappadocia, Nemrut, Catalhoyuk, Akhtamar are some of them. If tourism train to Kars succeeds, new destinations will come on to the table.
Undoubtfully, most interesting change for tourism trains will be departures directly from Istanbul.
Cover photo: Onur Uysal ©
You mention that the trains will depart from Istanbul, how might this service work? Perhaps YHT-Mainline combined tickets? In any case this is a very welcome change and hopefully will benefit travelers and help with covering operating costs and efforts to increase service quality.
Combined ticket is allready possible. A train departing from Istanbul has a strong market, I believe. 🙂
This is an interesting development. Did they announce when they plan to introduce the tourism trains? And can the route of the Doğu Ekspres take more traffic, given that it is single tracked and needs to accommodate the trains (goods and passenger) to Georgia and Azerbaijan? I hope they will not decrease the quality of the traditional Doğu Ekspres. Will it continue to run from Ankara after the opening of the Ankara-Sivas high speed rail line?