Trains in Turkey

TURKEY: The head of a major rail contractor and equipment supplier which is also the country’s first private passenger service operator has been appointed as the head of infrastructure manager TCDD.

Abdülkerim Murat Atik was appointed as Chairman & CEO of TCDD on September 3, by a presidential decree which announced the removal of his predecessor Ali İhsan Uygun.

Atik is the founder, Chairman & CEO of Sun Group which manufactures rolling stock and supplies and installs signalling.

Sun has supplied light rail vehicles to Ankara, Samsun and Kayseri, and undertaken signalling, renovation and other works on the Ankara metro, Kayseri –Adana – Mersin main line and the Gebze – Adapazarı high speed line. Earlier this year Sun received a license to operate luxury sleeping car services aimed at tourists travelling between Istanbul and Cappadocia, in a €40m joint venture with Japan’s HIS travel agency.

No reason was given for replacement of Ali İhsan Uygun, who was appointed in September 2019 having previously served as deputy head of Istanbul transport authority IETT.

However the move followed the cancellation for the seventh time of the inauguration ceremony for the 465 km Ankara – Sivas high speed line, which had been scheduled to take place September 4.

No formal announcement was made regarding the cancellation, but it followed media reports claiming that construction line had not been completed, running high speed trains over some sections could pose a safety risk, and a replacement bus would be required for an 80 km section of the route.

Tendered in three stages in 2009-13 the Ankara – Sivas line is being developed in three sections. Ankara – Kirikklae and Kirikkale – Yerköy largely utilise the route of the existing line, upgraded to allow operation at up to 200 km/h, and there is a 291 km section of entirely new alignment with seven tunnels, four viaducts and seven new stations.