Central Asia and Europe linked by Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Railway
Ankara [Turkey], Oct.31 : Central Asia and Europe have finally been linked by railway via the Caucasus region.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) Railway will link London to Beijing and will have a capacity to annually transport a million passengers and 6.5 million tons of freight at the initial stage.
The first train that departed from Baku after its inauguration by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili yesterday.
"The BTK Railway will not only connect Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, but also Europe and Asia. By this railway cargo and passengers will be transported non-stop from London to China," Xinhua quoted President Erdogan, as saying.
"It is expected to transport 17 million tons of cargos at the next stage. And then larger volumes will be transported," Azerbaijan President Aliyev said, adding that "the BTK railway is becoming an important part of Eurasia's transport map."
The date of the first official run of the 825 km line coincides with the liberation day of Kars, a city in northeastern Turkey and the last stop on the BTK line. The initial plan was to open the railway in 2010 but it was delayed several times, mainly for financial reasons.