The initial 21.1km underground line with 22 stations will run from Necmettin Erbakan University via Hastane, the new high-speed station, the existing main line station and Fatah Street to Meram Belediyesi. An end-to-end journey time of 35 minutes is envisaged with trains operating at headways of between 4 minutes and 2min 43s.

A consortium of China National Machinery (CMC) and Taşyapı, Turkey, will implement the €1.19bn project. The Ministry of Transport will be responsible for procuring the four-car trains at an estimated cost of Lire 1bn ($US 174m).

“We realised the signature of the biggest public investment in our city to date,” Altay says. “I hope this journey will begin as soon as the ground-breaking ceremony is held and will be completed within four years.”

A second underground east-west line is planned which would expand the metro to 45km.

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