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Swiss Carriages for BTK to be available Next Summer

The Swiss Stadler Rail Group has started the production of passenger cars for operation on the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway.

An Azerbaijani delegation inspected the new carriages during the recent visit to Switzerland, according to the Azerbaijani Railways CJSC.

The meeting was attended by Chairman of theAzerbaijani Railways Javid Gurbanov, President of the Stadler Rail Group Peter Shpuler, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Switzerland Akram Zeynalli, and other officials of the two countries.

Azerbaijan has ordered 30 new passenger trains for the BTK railway route, which is distinguishable in four categories: standard, comfort, business, and the on-board restaurant.

The new 10, 20 and 32-seater passenger cars will have built-in Wi-Fi and other novelties.

Azerbaijani Railways will get the first batch of trains for BTK railway line in the summer of 2016. The first 10 cars will be put into operation in July and August 2016, according to the Day.az.

The implementation of the BTK railway has significant importance in the region as a link between the West and East.

Azerbaijan, utilizing its beneficial geographical position, has investmented large sums of money into maritime transport and its railway system, which could act as a bridge between the Asia and Europe.

Earlier, Ahmed Sultan bin Sulayem, the chairman of Dubai Ports Customs and Free Zone Corporation said that the BTK railway will deliver goods from China to Europe more quickly, bypassing the port of Batumi.

Therefore, Baku plays a role as a key transportation hub, strengthening the successful cooperation between Azerbaijan and the UAE both in the field of cargo transportation and the carriage of passengers.

The BTK is an ambitious regional project with a peak capacity of about 17 million tons of cargo per year. At its initial stage, however, the railway will transport roughly one million passengers and 6.5 million tons of cargo, providing for the development of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and other countries.

The 105-kilometer Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi railway branch as part of the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars project is being constructed, while the existing railway’s Akhalkalaki-Marabda-Tbilisi section is under renovation in Georgia, which will help it to increase its capacity to 15 million tons of cargo per year.

The BTK railway, financed by Azerbaijan’s state oil fund SOFAZ, is being constructed in the framework of an agreement signed by the governments of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey.