The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Turkey opens high-speed rail link between Ankara and Istanbul

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ANKARA, Turkey - Turkey inaugurated a high-speed rail service Friday linking Ankara to Istanbul which will cut travel time between the country's main two cities by half. The launch suffered a mishap however, with a technical fault causing the train to stop for 15 minutes until it was repaired.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other dignitaries opened the service, making the first high-speed journey with stops at two stations along the way where the Turkish leader delivered campaign speeches for presidential elections on Aug. 10.

Private NTV television and other reports said a wire failure caused the train to stop about 100 kilometres (62 miles) from Istanbul, but the problem was quickly repaired.

Transport officials say the new tracks, permitting speeds up to 250 kph (155 mph), will reduce travel time from about seven hours to three and a half hours.

The opening of the service suffered several delays, including an accident during a test run earlier this month in which a train slammed into a rail maintenance vehicle.

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