By Arife Yildiz Unal
ANKARA (AA) – The Turkish railways has posted record figures in freight and passenger transportation for 2019, the country's transport minister said.
This success owes to the investments that have been made in railway sector since 1950, Cahit Turhan told Anadolu Agency.
The number of passengers travelled through high-speed trains grew 2% year-on-year to 8.3 million in 2019, Turhan stressed.
He said the quality of service on conventional trains has improved thanks to the renewal of the existing railway network, its modernization and rejuvenation of the vehicle fleet.
"Some 17.5 million passengers travelled by conventional trains last year, rising 10% from 16 million previous year," the minister added.
The Eastern Express, an overnight passenger train running between Turkey’s capital Ankara and the eastern Kars province and listed among top four routes in the world, attracted a great interest of passengers, he added.
The Marmaray, a 13.5-km (8.4 mi) commuter rail and train passage connecting Istanbul's Asian side to its European side beneath the Istanbul Strait, welcomed 124 million passengers in 2019, Turhan noted.
Thus, the total passenger numbers through Turkey's railways reached 149.8 million.
He highlighted that the amount of freight transported via railways also surged to hit 29.3 million tons last year.