Railway Infrastructure

Multi-billion dollar railroad investments in Turkey

What had been neglected for many decades should be modernize and extended until the 100 year anniversary of the Republic of Turkey in 2023: About 23.5 billion US-Dollars will be invested in infrastructure and rolling stock.

The original of this article “Türkei – MilliardenschwereInvestitionen” was published at the GermanPrivatbahnMagazin Issue 02/2015.

Showpiece of it will be the High Speed Network, which will accumulate to more than 9400 km.

The decline of the railway system started 1950 and lasted till 2003. The market share in passenger services was 1950 around 40 % and went down to 2% in 2001. It rested at this level for almost 10 years thereafter. The freight service went down from a 60% modal share to 6 %. The track infrastructure of 9500 km was extended by a mere three per mille a year over a period of 50 years. In the year 2011 were about 95% as single track, one quarter was electrified respectively had an appropriate signaling equipment.

During the year 2003 the government TCDD enterprise got federal priority and appropriate financing support. The U-turn on the political level made it possible to start more than 80 projects within short notice for the next eight years. The first important step was the opening of the high speed line in-between Ankara and Eskişehir in 2009 and followed two years later by Ankara – Konya. Another earlier project, the Marmaray under sea rail tunnel, opened in October 2013 and will be in 2016 in its final operational status.

The quantum leap forward till 2023 should push the rail network from current 12000 km to more than double of it. Many of them in dual track and a few in 4-rail tracks on high demand railroad lines. All equipped with catenary and modern safety- as well as signaling-systems.  Finally 29 major cities should get access to the high speed network. With Public Private Partnership (PPP) investments new stations are planned to be built all over the network, including state-of-the-art shopping and service centers. The government is targeting a modal split system wide of 10 % for passenger and 15 % for freight services by these rail investments.

Also new rolling stock will be seeing service within this timeframe: 7 Velaro high speed units are already delivered or on order, an open tender for another 80 units will follow shortly and should be ready for service 2018. Until end of 2015 eighty general purpose electric class E68000 will be delivered and twenty DE36000 PowerHaul diesel units are built under a strategic partnership between General Electric and Tülomsaş. Although over 2500 new freight cars are in production.

Cities over have a million inhabitants will have metro, light railway and monorail systems extended or put into service. Over 3000 vehicles, 2/3 of it metro cars, are planned for the time frame till 2023. Many of those investments will be partly finance by European Investment Bank EIP and other EU institutions. On the infrastructure side a third Bosporus bridge and several port railroad connections, including the new 25 million TEU (Twenty-foot Equivalent Unit Containers) port of Çandarlı (Izmir), are planned and/or under construction. Two new ferries for the Van lake connection with a tenfold capacity will relieve the bottleneck on the Iran – Europe connection through Turkey.

With financial and engineering resources China is involved in the new high speed tracks in difficult Turkish mountain conditions. On the line Eskişehir to Istanbul a Turkish – Chinese consortium was involved, including China Railway Construction Corporation as well as China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation. Those projects are part of the economic cooperation between Turkey and China, which had 2010 a volume of 19.5 billion US-Dollars and will be extended under a new partnership agreement until 2020 to a level of 100 billion.

by Peider Trippi, Switzerland ©
Photo: p.trippi-services ©


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