New Train Links Asia With Europe
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 European railroad infrastructure and China rail. The presidents of Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Georgia, as well as European Union representatives, attended the opening of the new train line.
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Details of train
Firstly, the train line was originally planned to launch in 2010 and then in 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 that 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.
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 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 Kazakhstan freight activity has been resurgent 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 their goods to European trains avoiding the need to change lines.
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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