The Eastern Express, the 26-hour train journey between the capital Ankara and the eastern province of Kars, will restart in December, the country’s culture and tourism minister has announced.
“The Eastern Express, [also known as the Eastern Express]which stopped during the coronavirus pandemic, is expected to be restarted next month,” Mehmet Nuri Ersoy said at a conference in the eastern province of Erzincan.
“The Ministry of Transport has again put rail service on its agenda,” he said. “The Eastern Tourist Express will restart.”
Departing from Ankara, the Eastern Express visits five provinces of Central and Eastern Anatolia – Kırıkkale, Kayseri, Sivas, Erzincan and Erzurum – before arriving in Kars, one of Türkiye’s winter tourism hotspots.
According to ticket sales sites, the price of an economy class seat is 82.50 Turkish lira ($4.4), while the price of a round-trip ticket to travel in a sleeping car starts at from 2,000 lira ($107.4).
The Minister stressed that the Eastern Express will contribute to the development of the tourist economy. “This year, the number of tourists exceeded the number seen in 2019, before the pandemic,” he said, adding that around 42 million tourists brought some $35 billion to the country.
The ministry’s goal is “to welcome 50 million tourists and earn some $44 billion by the end of the year.”