Opening of first Marmaray, and then the Tekirdag Derince Ferry caused a common wrong belief that Europe and Asia are connected for freight as well. Unfortunately, there’s still no possibility of load flow between two continents through Turkey.
It’s yet not clear if Marmaray, connecting the both continents through Bosphorus Tunnel by rail, will be used for the freight trains or not in the future. But we have 2 more years to think about this, because Marmaray is not connected to rail network from both ends. This connections will be completed by 2015, and become the main public transportation line of Istanbul. So, most probably, the freight trains will have limited access to the whole line and especially to the tunnel.
The start of ferry service between Tekirdag and Derince made it possible for European trains reach to Asia. However, the access is limited with Derince port, nothing further. In order to access to eastern parts and countries, the Derince-Kosekoy-Arifiye-Bilecik conventional line which is yet under construction has to be opened first. Opening seems to be not before the second quarter of 2014.
There’s another ferry line to connect Europe and Asia: Tekirdag Bandirma Ferry. The tender for the construction of ferry ramp in Bandirma Port was recently held. The next step will be, of course, to find another ferry. If it goes better in Bandirma Port than Derince Port, the service is planned to begin in 2014. Balo has a strategy to run its own ferry in this line.
Europe and Asia was disconnected in 2012 by the start of Marmaray works between Halkali-Sirkeci and Haydarpasa-Gebze. Therefore almost for 2 years, there’s no railway service between Asia and Europe. The international railway transport through two important railway terminals, Kosekoy and Derince, was shifted to Cerkezkoy. Others were mostly started to be done by either vessels or trucks.
Illustration: Uskudar Municipality