The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is a transport corridor connecting the railway networks of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey.
The project is part of a more ambitious plan to connect the railways of the southern Caucasus with Europe through Turkey. Under the railways development program of Turkey, the Marmaray underwater railway tunnel under the Bosphorus in Istanbul has already been built, which provides a direct connection to the pan-European network of railways. In the context of the project, it is planned to build a railway from Kars to Nakhichevan AR. In the future, with the implementation of high-speed communication projects, the Baku-Tbilisi-Akhalkalaki-Kars project will become part of the Europe-Caucasus-Asia railway speed corridor.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway solemnly opened in a ceremony organized in Alyat by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on October 30, 2017 after the first test drive. On October 30, 2017, a solemn ceremony was held on the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, designed to connect not only the three countries, but also entire continents. President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his spouse Emine Erdogan, Prime Ministers of Kazakhstan, Georgia and Uzbekistan Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Georgi Kvirikashvili and Abdulla Aripov took part in the ceremony held at the Baku International Sea Trade Port. , as well as the Turkmen and Tajik delegations.
At the opening ceremony of the railway, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in his speech: “The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is of great importance for the development of business and mutually beneficial cooperation. I am confident that the countries making the greatest contribution to regional cooperation – Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey, will always be together and support each other. Such giant projects as the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway further strengthen our unity and friendship. ”
The European Union approved the opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway and called it the main element of the transport links connecting the European Union with Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Central Asia. The official report states that this railway guarantees a better network, will create new business conditions and increase the quality of trade among the parties.
The total length of the BTK is 826 kilometers.
The estimated capacity is 1 million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo. In the future, it may be increased to three million passengers and 20 million tons of cargo.
After the commissioning of the railway, an increase in trade began between Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. This increase is estimated at up to $ 10 billion per year.
Baku-Tbilisi-Kars is a historical project, a project of strategic importance. The length of this road is 850 kilometers, of which 504 kilometers pass through the territory of Azerbaijan. The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is the shortest and most reliable route connecting Europe with Asia. At the initial stage, it is planned to transport 5 million tons along this road, at the subsequent stage – 17 million tons of cargo, and then – in an even larger volume. In short, the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is becoming an important part of the transport map of Eurasia. Thanks to the functioning of this road, trade and mutual investment between the countries along the way will increase. Collaboration between all countries using this road will be deepened. This road will serve stability and security. In the course of using this road, the development of tourism will also be widely adopted, and the number of tourists will increase. Naturally, the successful operation of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway will increase the geopolitical significance of our countries and create additional opportunities for us.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line, which is a new development project for the Eurasian space, provides for the restoration of the Great Silk Road on steel highways.
The agreement on the construction of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was signed in 2007 in Tbilisi. In November of the same year, the foundation of the railway line was laid in the Georgian point of Marabda. And in July 2008, a groundbreaking ceremony was held in Kars for the construction of a part of Kars-border of Georgia. The 504-kilometer part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line with a total length of almost 850 kilometers falls on the territory of Azerbaijan. The 263 km part of the railway passes through Georgia. In addition, 79 kilometers of the road is in Turkey.
According to forecasts, 3-5 million tons will be transported by the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway in the third operational year, 6-8 million tons in the fifth operating year, and 3 million passengers and 17 million tons of cargo per year will be transported . It will be possible to get to Kars in a day by this railway, and in two and a half days – to Istanbul. This will have a powerful impact on the development of tourism in the region. All this clearly demonstrates the importance of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway line, its safety, reliability, speed and time saving. Thus, the field of putting the road into operation, the freight time, compared to the time spent today, will be almost halved.