Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway is officially open again after year-long closure

Aerial view of the Akhalkalaki railway complex. Image: Azerbaijan Railways (ADY)

The Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway was subject to significant upgrades targeting its capacity for roughly a year. With most work concluded in early March, the railway was expected to restart operations in late May 2024. The expectations turned into reality, and as a result, the BTK line saw its first freight train running after a long time.

For the record, the train inaugurating the upgraded BTK ran between Azerbaijan (Absheron Logistics Centre) and Georgia. It departed on 20 May and carried 20 containers.

This is supposed to be the first of the many trains to transit the refurbished line. After all, according to Azerbaijan Railways, which was actively involved in the reconstruction, the line’s capacity should now increase from 1 to 5 million tons of cargo per year, meaning that the total number of freight trains travelling along the BTK will increase substantially compared to the past.

Joint venture to manage operations

The line’s upgrade included repair, reconstruction, and construction works along a 183-kilometre stretch, which is now complete. It should be noted that the project was split into five parts, all of which were located in Georgia.
The fifth part of the project is not concerned with the line upgrade but rather the construction of a 110-hectare logistics complex in Akhalkalaki, near the Georgian-Turkish border.

“Following the project’s completion, a joint venture should be established between Azerbaijan and Georgia to efficiently manage operations on the BTK and attract new cargo. Respective work has already begun, and the establishment of a joint venture is expected soon,” commented Azerbaijan Railways chairman Rovshan Rustamov.

Also read:

You just read one of our premium articles free of charge

Want full access? Take advantage of our exclusive offer

See the offer

Author: Nikos Papatolios

Nikos Papatolios is the Chief Editor of, the online magazine for rail freight professionals.

Add your comment

characters remaining.

Log in through one of the following social media partners to comment.