The train, which was manufactured by CRRC Zhuzhou at its main facility in Zhuzhou, Hunan Province, was completed in July, and will begin testing following its assembly at an Istanbul Metro maintenance depot. The first car has already been assembled.

The train has been supplied under a Lira 1.55bn ($US 221.8m) contract comprising 176 metro cars, which was awarded by the Turkish Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure on April 29. CRRC Zhuzhou was reportedly the only valid bidder for the contract.

The trains will accommodate up to 1100 passengers and are capable of operating at Grade of Automation 4 (GoA4). They are also equipped with remote tracking, diagnostics and maintenance systems.

Delivery of the entire fleet will be completed by December 28 2022, with 10 cars expected to be completed and commissioned for service by the end of the year.

136 cars will be produced in Turkey in accordance with a condition that the contract is delivered with a locality ratio of 60% in order to boost domestic manufacturing.

The trains will operate on the new 37.2km €1bn Gayrettepe - Istanbul Airport (M11) automated metro line, which was previously intended to open in 2019 to coincide with the launch of full operations at the new Istanbul airport in April of that year. However, this has now been delayed until August 2021.

The line includes nine stations at Gayrettepe, Kağıthane, Kemerburgaz, Göktürk, Işıklar Otogar, İhsaniye, and serves three terminals at the airport, and is expected to serve around 600,000 passengers per day when it opens.

M11 will allow for operation at speeds of 120km/h, enabling travel times of 35 minutes from Istanbul Airport to Gayrettepe, where the line will interchange with the M2 line.

M11 is expected to significantly reduce the city’s road traffic usage, and operates at significantly higher speeds than the 80km/h limit on the existing metro network.

The project is part of broader government plans to expand the Istanbul metro to 1100km, including 190km in tunnel.

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