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ITE Transport and Logistics

High-speed line construction fuels Turkish rail tech demand

Since 2003, Turkey has pumped $17.25 billion into its rail network, but even this huge level of investment is not enough to suit Turkish railway ambitions. Over 10,000 kilometres of new track is to be put in place by 2023, meaning Turkey is now one of the markets to watch for rail technology and services providers.

So what is happening in the Turkish rail transportation to make it so enticing a market? $45 billion will be thrown into developing the industry, including construction of an expansive high-speed network,  meaning greater opportunities for rolling stock and technology producers to expand into Turkey.

High-speed rail dominates Turkish rail construction

2023 marks the centenary of the establishment of the Republic of Turkey, making it a big deadline for the nation’s infrastructure projects. Construction of new high-speed rail lines is playing a big role in boosting Turkey’s transportation links by this date. Over the next five years, Turkey hopes to more than double its existing 12,000km rail network to 26,000km.
Up to 10,000km of new high-speed passenger track is planned to be put into place by 2023. Turkey ranks seventh in the world in terms of high-speed track length at present, with 1,420 km of high-speed track in use. If fully realised, Turkey’s rail construction objectives would make it a world leader in high-speed rail.

Across the length and breadth of the country, work is being put into expanding Turkey’s existing high-speed infrastructure. So far the bulk of this has centred around expansion of existing routes coming to and from Ankara – not just Turkey’s capital but its main express train hub. Now, TCDD, the Turkish state railway operator, says work is underway on the following lines:

•    Ankara-Sivas (405km)
•    Sivas-Erzincan (235km)
•    Bilecik-Bursa (106km)
•    Ankara-Izmir (625km)

There is also the $35 billion dollar investment in the long-gestating Edirne-Kars project. This 2,000 kilometre route, part-funded by a Chinese loan, would cross the length of Turkey, linking its European and Asian borders. As Turkey has long been a historical bridge between east and west, this line would further improve the nations attractiveness for both rail freight and passenger transport.

As Turkey’s railway focus is very much on the faster side, it stands to reason that it will require greater levels of modern rolling stock and attendant technologies. Many international companies have spotted the potential of the Turkish rail sector – and are already inking deals.

Upgrading Turkey’s rail sector means demand for new technologies

According to TCDD, a total of 106 new high-speed trains will be purchased by 2023. The organisation’s search for modern rolling stock solutions has gone international. Several foreign companies have either signed, or are planning on signing, agreements to provide Turkey with cutting edge locomotives and associated technology.

Canadian manufacturer Bombardier and domestic firm Bozankaya signed a Memorandum of Understanding in February 2016 to develop express trains for Ankara’s high-speed routes. It is believed Bozankaya will be building the trains, while Bombardier will be supplying engineering and technological support.

To get a clearer picture of what types of technologies are enjoying greater demand in Turkey, it helps to look at a successful supplier’s activities. Siemens makes the ideal example. The German company has a long history in Turkey, and TCDD is once more turning the electronics experts to provide essential components for a number of routes.

Let’s take a look at an example. Siemens is outfitting the 380km Samsun-Kalin line on Turkey’s Black Sea coast with a number of key modernisation technologies including its Trackguard Westrace electronic interlocking system.

The company will also be installing with level-crossing technology, points machines, communication systems and the European Train Control System (ETCS) Level 1 on this route. Additionally, Siemens will also be equipping the operational control centre in Samsun with necessary systems too.

Siemens is also becoming another key supplier of rolling stock to Turkey, especially in the high-speed sector. Seven sets of Siemen’s Velaro-D platforms have been bought by Turkey, with a further six trains expected for delivery in 2017.

Explore Turkey’s rail sector at Istanbul Rail Tech

The potential for Turkey as a railway technology market is huge. Discover just how big at Istanbul Rail Tech 2017 - a new two day exhibition dedicated to rail technology in the Turkish and Eurasian markets.

The event is a cost effective and time efficient platform to meet, negotiate and conduct business with buyers from rail networks, stations, and governments across Turkey, the Balkans, Eastern and Central Europe and Middle East regions.

Get more information on Istanbul Rail Tech here, or get in touch today to learn more about this brand new event on Turkey’s transport and logistics calendar.

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