Turkey, which started to embrace railways as a state policy in 2003 and has invested around $14.5 billion in railways so far, started high speed train operations in 2009.
Since then, 38 million passengers have been transported with high speed trains on Ankara-Eskişehir-İstanbul, İstanbul – Konya and Ankara – Konya high speed lines in Turkey.
Today, around 12,600 km of rail network is being operated in Turkey and 1213 km of this total network is High Speed Lines. By 2023, Turkey aims to expand its total rail network and increase it to 25,000 km, 3500 km of which will be High Speed Lines and around 10,000 km of which will be Rapid Lines (to be operated between 160-200 km/h).
As one of the legs of this rail-network-expanding plan, track laying was started on the Yerköy-Sivas section of the Ankara-Sivas High Speed line after the infrastructure work was finished. The Ankara-Sivas HSL is the one connecting Istanbul and Ankara, the prospective hub for HSLs in Turkey, to the east. The line is also on the main line of the Iron Silk road stretching to Asian countries in the east.
The Ankara-Sivas Line is 405 km in total and will be double track, signalled, electrified and operate at line speeds of 250 km/h. The superstructure works on the Yerköy-Sivas Section, one of the two sections on this line, started with the first-track laying on 25 March 2018.
The line includes 49 tunnels (66.2 km long in total), 52 viaducts (28 km), 216 over and underpasses. The longest tunnel on this line will be 5,120 m and longest viaduct will be 2,216 m long.
100 million m³ excavation and 25 million m³ embankment have been carried out so far on this line.
The line will use ERTMS/ETCS Level 1 and Level 2 when operated.
The line, which is around 86% complete, is expected to be finished at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year and will enter operation in 2019.
When the line is completed and integrated into the existing high-speed lines in Turkey, the travel time between Yozgat and Ankara will be one hour and Sivas to Ankara will be two hours. It will take approximately four and a half hours from Yozgat and five and half hours from Sivas to Istanbul.
Besides Istanbul, the passengers will also have the possibility to travel to Konya city in the south and in the near future to İzmir city using the HSLs.