The 820m-long train carrying 42 containers laden with electronic goods is travelling from Xi’an, China, via Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey, Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, and Slovakia to Prague in the Czech Republic.
The 11,483km trip is expected to take 12 days and involves crossing the Caspian Sea and passing through the Marmaray tunnel under the Bosporus in Istanbul.
The 63km Halkali - Istanbul - Gebze railway was officially opened on March 12 marking the completion of phase two of the Marmaray project to connect Turkey’s European and Asian rail networks. The train also traversed the Baku - Tbilisi - Kars line which was completed in 2017. Completion of these two projects has made it possible to run direct trains from Asia to Europe via Turkey for the first time.
TCDD hopes this will become a new corridor for freight moving between China and Europe to add to the existing routes through Kazakhstan and Russia.