Baku-Tbilisi-Kars Opening Ceremony Starts
2017 October 30 ( Monday ) 14:08:12
Baku / 30.10.17 / Turan: The opening ceremony of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway started in the settlement of Alyat, 70 kilometers south-west of Baku.
The ceremony involves Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Georgian Prime Minister Georgy Kvirikashvili, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Bakintzhan Sagintayev, and Prime Minister of Uzbekistan Abdulla Aripov.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project was implemented on the basis of the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey interstate agreement signed in 2007. Within the framework of the project, a railway line was built from the Akhalkalaki station in Georgia to the railway station in Kars, Turkey, 105 km long, of which 76 km are Turkish, and 29 km are Georgian territory. A station for changing wheel pairs 1,435 mm / 1,520 mm was also built in Akhalkalaki. The Akhalkalaki-Tbilisi section, 183 km, in Georgia was also reconstructed. The total length of BTK is 826 km.
At the first stage, BTK will transport 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo per year, and later the cargo traffic will reach 17 million tons and 2 million passengers per year.
The construction of the Georgian part was financed by Azerbaijan, which allocated two concessional loans to Georgia for a total of $ 775 million.
The maximum speed of trains along BTK will reach 120 km per hour. BTK is part of a more ambitious project for the new Great Silk Road connecting railways from Europe to China.
Under the program for the development of railways in Turkey, the underwater railway tunnel Marmaray was built under the Bosporus Strait in Istanbul. It provides direct communication with the pan-European railway network.
The opening of BTK will allow for direct rail transportation (without transshipment of goods from one mode of transport to another). This will become an alternative to transportation on the ocean and will reduce the time of goods in transit by more than two times - up to 12-15 days.
Also in the context of the project, it is planned to build a railway from Kars to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. This will restore the railway communication of the autonomy with the rest of Azerbaijan, interrupted in the early 1990s due to the occupation of Azerbaijani territories by Armenia and the blockade of Nakhchivan by this state.
Armenia opposed BTK, proposing to use the existing branch connecting the railways of Turkey and Armenia, built back in the days of the USSR.
Now, after BTK is built, Armenia has begun to show interest in transport along this road. However, the project participants are unanimous in the belief that Armenia can gain access to BTK only after the liberation of the occupied territories of Azerbaijan. -06d-