Turkey railway liberalization draws industry giants

Aksam – Ending years of state monopoly on railway operations, Turkey is set to receive an influx of foreign companies ranging from operators to manufacturers. The recent opening of the country’s railways to the private sector has turned global rail giants’ attention to Turkey and its rapidly-expanding railway network.

Sector heavyweights such as Deutsche Bahn, SNCF, Thales, Thalys, Mitsubishi and Hyundai Rotem are said to be surveying the ground to participate in Turkey’s promising railway transportation market which will see the first privately operated train set off as early as 2014. Initially, private sector involvment will be limited to freight transportation. The carrying of passengers on privately built and operated rails will commence by 2018.

“We are closely monitoring Turkey for opportunities and following the latest developments closely”, said Deutsche Bahn spokesperson, Heiner Spannuth. The German rail operator is in partnership with Turkey’s Arkas Holding since 1995.
South Korean Hyundai-Rotem and Japanese Mitsubishi, both suppliers to light rail networks in Turkey’s Istanbul, are also eyeing the coming boom.

From Europe, France’s Thales and SNCF as well as German-French-Belgian railway operator Thalys have made their interest known in Turkey’s railway projects.

Significant investments in Turkey’s railway network will be realized over the next 10 years, which will increase the length of the network to 26,000 kilometers, nearly double that of today’s 12,000 km. High-speed lines are expected to constitute 10,000 kilometers of the total.

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