INTERNATIONAL: Passenger services on the Baku – Tbilisi – Kars route are to be launched in the third quarter of 2019, Azerbaijan’s national railway ADY has announced.

The announcement on October 30 marked the first anniversary of the official inauguration of the Baku – Tbilisi – Kars railway corridor. So far the route has carried about 3 000 containers, ADY said, with the main traffic being construction materials, electrical equipment, grain, road vehicles and transit traffic from Russia, China and Central Asia to Turkey.

In June 2014 ADY awarded Stadler a contract to supply three sets of 10 coaches for use on overnight passenger services on the route between Azerbaijan and Turkey, potentially operating as far as Ankara and Istanbul. The first was unveiled at InnoTrans 2016. ADY said delivery of the initial set of 10 coaches is now planned for the first quarter of 2019, with the second rake to follow.

Each 10-car set will have a total of 257 berths in first and second class, family and accessible compartments. The 160 km/h aluminium bodied vehicles meet GOST and UIC technical requirements, with redundant air-conditioning systems designed for temperatures from -40ºC to 45ºC, controlled-emission vacuum toilets and an emergency generator which can provide power for 24 h.

The DB AG/Rafil Type V adjustable wheelsets supplied by BVV will enable through running from the 1 520 mm broad gauge used in the former Soviet Union to the 1 435 mm standard gauge used in Turkey, taking around 5 min for an entire trainset to change gauge while moving at low speed.

  • A detailed article on the Baku – Kars – Tbilisi railway project and its role in the wider development of Eurasian transport corridors appeared in the June 2017 issue of Railway Gazette International magazine, which subscribers can access in the digital archive.