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Railway giants line up for Turkey’s high-speed rail projects 

Sabah - Global rail engineering companies are eying Turkey’s USD 40-billion-worth of railway projects slated for completion by the centennial of the republic in 2023.
Over 300 exhibitors from 30 countries showcased their products and services at the sixth Eurasia Rail trade show held between March 3 and 5 in Istanbul.

In his opening speech of the event, Turkey’s Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications, Binali Yildirim, said investments for the renewal and upgrades to Turkey’s network have reached USD 20 billion to date, with a further USD 40 billion of projects in the planning stages.

“A tender for the acquisition of 80 high-speed train sets will cost around USD 6 billion. Maximizing the local contribution is a necessity to win the tender, so a number of interested rail system manufacturers have already formed partnerships in Turkey to set up manufacturing operations here,” Yildirim said.

The tender calls for a local partner and the use of local parts and components to a specified degree. Among the heavyweight companies that expressed an interest in the tender are Canadian aerospace and transportation company Bombardier in partnership with Bozankaya, Spain’s Talgo in partnership with Tümosan, French company Alstom, and Siemens from Germany. Alstom and Siemens are yet to announce their local partners.

The Turkish government is looking to increase rail use and establish high-speed rail lines between the country’s major population centers. Significant investments in the railway network will be made over the next seven years, which will increase the length of tracks to 26,000 kilometers – nearly double the current 12,000 kilometers – of which high-speed lines will make up 10,000 kilometers.

The government also plans to complete the liberalization of the sector, allowing private operators to carry passengers and freight on state-owned railways this year, ending the decades-long state monopoly.

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