Train travel between Tehran and Ankara resumes this week

Turkey and Iran jump start Tehran to Ankara railway journey
2 min read
12 August, 2019
Train travel between the Turkish capital Ankara and the Iranian capital Tehran has been suspended since 2015, but resumes this week.
Train travel between Tehran and Ankara has been suspended since 2015 [Getty]
Turkey and Iran will restart a train service between their two capitals this week after a four-year suspension, local media reported.

The Trans Asia Express will carry passengers and freight between Ankara and Tehran from Wednesday, Transport and Infrastructure Minister Mehmet Cehit Turhan said according to Haber Sol.

The decision to re-open the line came in May after meetings between Iranian and Turkish officials.

Trains between the eastern Turkish city of Van, near the Iranian border, and Tehran resumed in late June. 

The line from Van to Tabriz, a city in eastern Iran, was already restored last year. 

The full train journey - across much of the width of Anatolia into Iran and onwards to the Iranian capital - will take around 57 hours in total.

The journey itself actually integrates a ferry journey in addition to two train segments.

Between Ankara and Tatvan - a town on the western edge of Lake Van in eastern Turkey - passengers will ride a train operated by Turkey's state railway agency, and then ride a ferry across the lake to Van city, from where they can ride a train service operated by Iran's state-owned rail company.

Turhan described Turkey's evolving railway infrastructure as a "gateway to Asia".

With connections to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and now Iran, Turkey has become connected with much of Central Asia via rail, he said.

Turkey was once a hub for rail travel from Europe to the Middle East, with European passengers taking the Orient Express to Istanbul.

From there, travelers could go onwards to Baghdad or Aleppo, from which trains reached to Damascus and as far as the Hejaz in Saudi Arabia.

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