A new high-speed rail link connecting the Turkish capital Ankara with the international commercial hub of Istanbul is due to open this month, cutting the journey time between Turkey’s two most important cities to three-and-a-half hours from six.
Turkey's Transport Minister Lütfi Elvan has confirmed that the new rail link will be officially opened on 25th July, after the opening was postponed in May.
The new line passes through the recently opened Marmaray Tunnel, which passes under the Bosphorus and connects the European and Asian sides of Istanbul. Its launch forms part of Prime Minister Erdogan’s plans to radically upgrade Turkey’s transport infrastructure. Turkish State Railways announced in January 2014 that they would invest 1.8 billion Turkish lira in high-speed trains, as part of a number of large scale projects planned for Turkey's founding anniversary in 2023.
Once operational, trains will run at up to 250 kilometres per hour along the 500-kilometre Istanbul-Ankara line.
The new service is expected to be a further boost to the property market in Istanbul, and is welcome news for owners of real estate in Istanbul. House prices in the city continue to soar in 2014, as does foreign investment in real estate - Istanbul accounted for the sale of 1,511 properties to foreigners during the first four months of 2014, with several other cities in Turkey reporting increases in foreign property investment.
The new rail link should reduce congestion on the city’s roads, which will make it easier to commute from the suburbs and open up more opportunities for foreign investors to profit from buy-to-let investments.