Starting in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, trains will stop in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, pass through gauge-changing facilities in the Georgian town of Akhalkalaki and end their journey in the Turkish town of Kars.
Ilham Aliyev said that today the Turkey-Azerbaijan friendship, brotherhood and unity is an important factor for the region and plays a stabilizing role in the region. This route will provide a passage to Kazakhstan to reach Turkey--the Europe. The initial completion date of 2010 was repeatedly pushed back, International Railway Journal says. Avoiding Armenia, track will link port of Baku with Kars city of Turkey where it connects Turkish railways system. A trade volume of $120 million is expected with this move and trade with the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic, which is an exclave in Azerbaijan bordering Armenia, Turkey and Iran, will be done in Turkish lira.
"The railway is a new Eurasian bridge, connecting not only the economies of our countries but also our citizens", Kvirikashvili said at the opening. The link between Turkey and Georgia is enabled using a border tunnel, of which some 2,375 meters lay in Turkey and 2,070 meters in the Georgia.
Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan's President and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's President, and First Lady Emine Erdoğan, Bakytzhan Sagintayev, Kazakhstan's Prime Minister, Giorgi Kvirikashvili, Georgia's Prime Minister, Abdulla Aripov, Uzbekistan's Prime Minister, Tajikistan's and Turkmenistan's Ministers of Transport of as well as other high-level dignitaries attended this global initiative inauguration ceremony. The link "will create completely new possibilities not only in our region but beyond". The port at Alat, which Azerbaijan says is planned to be the largest in the Caspian Sea region, will triple its capacity to 15 million tonnes of cargo per year when the first phase of an expansion program is completed in mid-2018, he said.
BTK railway track is being considered as a new Eurasian bridge and shortest route to China to reach Europe while bypassing Russian Federation and Iran. The bulk of that financing came from Azerbaijan's state oil fund.