After a number of delays, the Ankara-Istanbul high-speed railway line is finally set to be inaugurated today, with a fanfare ceremony attended by a number of prominent figures.

Speaking to reporters ahead of the ceremony, Transport Minister Lütfi Elvan said the line would carry 12 journeys, six in each direction, every day. The high speed line will cut the journey time between Turkey’s two largest metropolises to around three and a half hours.

Elvan said rail transportation’s share on the Ankara-Istanbul route was currently around 8 to 10 percent, but the government aimed to raise this to around 75 to 80 percent.

He also encouraged private bus companies, which currently dominate the route, to get involved in the railroad business, as the state paved the way for more private companies to enter the sector with a regulatory change last year.