Opening of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway postponed again
Opening of Baku-Tbilisi-Kars (BTK) railway line has been postponed from Q1 till midst 2017.
Ahmet Arslan, the Minister of Transport, Maritime Affairs and Communications of Azerbaijan, reported at the meeting with representatives of Kars NGOs. Arslan explained the reason for yet another postponement of the launch of railway by heavy snowfall. “The railway will be tested in March-April and by the middle of this year Baku-Tbilisi-Kars will be put into operation. However, at the Phase 2 we are going to expand the railway to Nakhchivan, Iran, Pakistan and even India,” said the Minister.
The construction of the railway has been underway for a decade already. Initially, the railway was to be launched in 2011. However, afterwards the launch of the first train on this route was postponed at least 3 times.
In October 2015, the Head of Azerbaijan Railway, Javid Qurbanov, assured the press that the railway would be put into operation in November 2016. Whereas in December, the launch of the first train was postponed until Q1 2017.
In January 2016, Mamuka Bakhtadze, Georgian Railway JSC Director General, told Trend news that the construction of Georgian section of the rail line was competed.
- The total length of the BTK makes 826 kilometers.
- The estimated carrying capacity – 1 million passengers and 6,5 million tons of freight. In future, the BTK carrying capacity may be increased up to 3million passengers and 20 million tons of freight.
- The initial value of the project amounted to US$ 422 million, including US $202 million to be allocated for construction of the Georgiansection and US $220 million – for the Turkish section. However, later, the project cost were revised to push its value up. By the end of 2008, the total cost of the project, according to various estimates, exceeded US $600 million.