It had been four years since the Transasia Express had stopped running between Ankara and Tehran. Hit by an explosion following an attack in 2015, the grand express had been suspended ever since, until the two countries negotiated a reopening in 2019. Since July, the two capitals are once again bound by a train journey lasting 52 hours.
The 2.5-day voyage involves two train journeys and a ferry trip: while a Turkish train connects Ankara to Tatvan, an Iranian one links Van and Tehran, and a ferry crosses over Van lake and connects Tatvan to Van.
Despite the attractive route, the travelers crowding the wagons are rarely adventurous admirers, but mostly Persians, for the simple reason of low-priced tickets. Due to the high cost of living and increasing poverty in Iran, travelling has become a luxury for Persians, obliging them to face over 52 hours of travel to reach Ankara.