Marmaray project linking two continents -Asia and Europe- by rail, opened today with a big ceremony.
Today’s opening is for the first phase, where a few stations in both sides of Istanbul are connected through the tunnnel. This part is completely underground and 13,5 km long.
The rest of the project is the renewal of rail lines above ground, connecting both ends of Istanbul, 63 km long. With the completion of this phase, trains coming from Europe will be able to pass to Asian side. This phase of the project is planned to be completed by 2015.
Marmaray has become one of the most important projects of the government, and a big effort spent to complete this phase on the day announced, today, the 90th anniversary of Turkish Republic. Marmaray is told to be solution to congestion especially in bridges of Istanbul.
Marmaray is also an important part of 2023 Strategy of Government, to be the tranportation hub between Asia and Europe. Together with the rail connection project Baku-Tbilisi-Kars, recreation of Silk Road is aimed.
Some discussions have also started about the Marmaray project. The security of the tunnel is being questioned especially because of the soon-expected Istanbul earthquake. Transportation Ministry as well as the Japanase construction company ensure that the tunnel is one of the most secured areas in Istanbul.
Also the route is under discussion. Since city grows towards north, and Marmaray connects both ends of city from the southest edge, it’s told that the contribution of the project will not be as much as expected.
Today only the invitees were able to pass through Marmaray tunnel. Commercial transportation will start by tomorrow.