By Omer Faruk Cebeci and Omer Faruk Simsek
SAKARYA, Turkey (AA) – Factory acceptance trials have begun for Turkey's first indigenous electric train, a senior official said Monday.
Even during the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Turkey Wagon Industry Corporation's (TUVASAS) personnel continued to work hard to complete the project, Industry and Technology Minister Mustafa Varank said during the testing ceremony in the country's western Sakarya province.
Thanks to these efforts, the train has reached the testing phase. After the factory trials, railway testing will begin at the end of August, Varank underlined.
The train, designed for intercity travel, can be produced for 20% less than comparable imported models, he said, lauding its high rate of domestic production, including its main control, monitoring, climate and lightening systems.
The prototype was 60% produced with domestic resources and this may reach 80% in the mass production phase, he said.
Varank noted that the annual volume of the global railway systems sector was around €160 billion ($180 billion) and is expected to increase rapidly.
Turkey can be a global player in this area, and will spend €15 billion on railway systems in the next decade, he added.
– Railway production hub
Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu said TUVASAS, which was established as a train repair facility, had become the largest railway system producer in the Middle East.
Noting that TUVASAS would continue its operations under the name of Turkey Rail System Utilities Industry Company (TURASAS), he said the ministry would prioritize railway projects in the coming period.
"We'll work to make Turkey an important railway production hub."
The country has spent 880 billion liras ($338.46 billion) in transportation and communication infrastructure during the last 18 years and 162 billion liras ($62.3 billion) of this amount was in railway systems, he underlined.
* Writing and contributions by Gokhan Ergocun from Istanbul