(Last Updated On: 14/08/2019)

A new train line has launched, covering Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Georgia. The line covers over 820 Kilometers and accommodates freights in addition to passenger trains. Firstly, the line will be the first to connect Europe and China whilst bypassing Russia. The train will operate from Azerbaijan’s capital  Baku and the Georgian capital Tbilisi to the city of Kars in Turley. Furthermore, It will reduce the journey time between Europe and China. The presidents of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Georgia, as well as European Union representatives, attended the opening of the new train line.

 

Details of train

Firstly, the train line was originally planned to launch in 2010 and then 2012. However, due to the line not passing through Armenia, both the US and the EU did not financially contribute and this caused a delay. In addition, the line goes through countries which previously had their borders closed to each other (dating back to the Soviet Union).

Secondly, the line which is named the ‘Eurasian Bridge’, will connect the economies of the countries it passes through. Chinese goods are transported from China to Europe on this line in as little as 12 days. Furthermore, the train will transport 5 million tons of cargo per year with this number expected to jump to 17 million over time. Additionally, this will make the port of Alat in Azerbaijan the largest in the Caspian Sea region.

 

bird's eye view of the new port in Alat which will benefit from the new train link

Azerbaijan has not disclosed the full cost of the line however it is known that they lent Georgia $775 to finance the Georgian part of the line.

 

Kazakhstan

Kazakhstan has now established itself as the new ‘Silk Road’ with its increased freight activity between Europe and China. Historically Kazakhstan served as a connecting state for Europe, Asia, and India. The reason there has been a resurgence of Kazakhstan freight activity is that it cuts the distance of Europe to Asia by 10,000 kilometers. Furthermore, Kazakhstan has spent over $3 billion on its railway lines. This includes $250 million spent on the Khorgos Gateway. This gateway allows Chinese trains to transfer its goods to European trains avoiding the needs to change lines.

 

China now owns 49% of Khorgos Gateway that is part of the new train link

 

Quotes regarding the new train line

Firstly, Azerbaijan’s president commented on the train

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railroad is the shortest and most reliable link between Asia and Europe

Additionally, the European Union commented

The opening of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is a major step in transport interconnections linking the European Union, Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Central Asia … along the ancient Silk Road,

 

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