The first high speed line connects politicial and economical centers of Turkey.
Enriched on 13.02.2021 with up-to-date information
High speed investments of Turkey had started in 2003 on the busiest passenger route. Project went together with rail pass through 3 metropols. The line is 533 km long and has max speed limit of 250 km/h. It’s the only railway route crossing across continents via Marmaray tunnel.
18th year in a hard route
Engineering works started in 2003 together with a couple of projects. Both this high speed line project and other projects faced unexpected problems and delays. The services started on this line with temporary solutions which makes the line hard for HST drivers.
The first train service on this line (so in Turkey) started in 2009 on Ankara-Eskisehir section. City pass of Eskisehir was commissioned 5 years after this, where city pass and suburban lines of Ankara was commissioned 4 more years after Eskisehir.
Ankara-Istanbul service had started in 2014, where trains could come until Pendik in Asian side, since Marmaray projects had not completed. The engineering works delayed in two locations (T26 tunnel at Bilecik and Dogancay at Sapanca) due to ground problems. Temporary solution was using the conventional line, which has been used since then.
The line became more popular when Marmaray project was completed in 2019, allowing trains to call at 4 more stations in Istanbul: Bostanci, Sogutlucesme, Bakirkoy and Halkali. Travel time of Istanbul-Ankara trains had approached to planes (city center to city center) and trains started running full.
5 cities, 14 stations, 8 mn pax
Istanbul-Ankara HSTs call at 14 stations, 5 of which are in Istanbul and 2 in Ankara. Trains connect 6 cities, 5 of which are city centers. 2 services are running on this line (Istanbul-Ankara and Ankara-Eskisehir). 2 more services to Konya are also using part of this line. First two services have an annual ridership of 5 million. This reaches to 8 million in all for services.
New train stations are built at outer parts of Polatli, Bozuyuk and Bilecik for HSTs. In stations of Ankara and Istanbul, suburban trains are using the same stations. In Eskisehir and Izmit, the existing stations are renewed for HSTs.
Target: Istanbul to Ankara in 3 hours
Travel time from Ankara to Istanbul (Pendik) was slightly more than 3.5 hours in express service which calls at minimum number of stations. Currently, Ankara-Pendik is about 4 hours in standard service, Ankara-Sogutlucesme is 4.5 hours and Ankara-Halkali is 5.5 hours.
As remaining engineering works completed, travel time is expected to last shorter by half an hour. 3 hours of travel time between Ankara-Pendik will be realized in 2023.
Engineering works continue at Bilecik and Dogancay
Two sections of the line are under construction as of 2021. One is T26 tunnel at south of Bilecik station. Tunnel was collapsed on to TBM causing a very long delay. Currently trains are using conventional line to pass this section.
The other section is at Dogancay, between Pamukova and Sapanca. Due to loose ground, project had redesigned. Trains currently shift to conventional line at Pamukova and use that line until Sapanca via Arifiye. When this section completed, trains will call at Sapanca station instead of Arifiye.
Only CAF sets arrive at Istanbul
In Istanbul-Ankara and Istanbul-Konya services, only CAF sets are used. There are 12 CAF sets in Turkey.
Further orders of TCDD Tasimacilik was for Velaro sets, which reached to 19 sets in fleet. They seem to wait completion of engineering works to run in Istanbul services. They currently run on Ankara-Konya line.
Cover photo: Dusko Djuric ©
Categories: Railway Infrastructure