E68000 Hyundai Locos

Turkish Railroad Industry on Way for Independency

The increasing importance of the rail sector in Turkey and the investment plan 2023 makes it an Eldorado for international suppliers and the young local rail industry.

The twofold of the network, the refurbishing of signaling and control centers, transition to catenary systems and need of new rolling stock is although a huge opportunity for the traditional Turkish automotive-, tractor-, bus-, military- and ship industry as well as for companies in the field of electrification/signalization, composite and plastic material, certification and building to enter the rail market step by step. First local companies already qualified for IRIS-certification and it opened them for the international rail market.

The booming urban traffic systems in fast growing cities as well as needs for new DMU/EMU rolling stock for mainlines, tracks, electrification and infrastructure, gave birth to many cooperation with international rail and component suppliers from South Korea, China, Austria, Germany, USA and others. Hyundai-Rotem and Skoda went together with Tülomsaş to develop and built eighty of modern 5-MW-E68000 multipurpose E-locomotives just as one example.

All those joint ventures and cooperation have a specified local content in the contracts, usually starts at low level of 20 to 30 % and has to be increased to over 50% during the production run. As experience showed, international companies are not always keeping to the contract and the local content moves up below the agreed figures. It is estimated, that over 6 billion US-Dollar went into new rolling stock equipment so far, but a big portion out of it directly to the international companies. Also series for urban transport vehicles usually are in small numbers but as many cities are in urgent need, more and more origin diversification of models makes huge costs in maintenance and spare parts in operating them. Those facts where realized also by Turkish government and it came to conclusion, to set up national development and standardization for the need of new vehicles estimated till mid-2020.

The national train program includes development and production of a high speed train sets (so called National Express Train), new EMU/DMU-units and new freight cars. Under the lead of the TCDD subsidiary companies Tülomsaş for the National Express Train, Tüvasaş for EMU/DMU and Tüdemsaş freight cars and in cooperation with the railway industry clusters ARUS of Anatolia (about 100 companies) and RSK of Eskişehir (about 30 companies) and several national universities the program is now well under way. The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) is also part of these developments and is responsible for the R&D activities. It is targeted to manufacture the prototypes in participation with international suppliers. The aim is to increase the local contribution to 85% by 2023 under lead of the three main national manufacturers. It seems, Turkey goes the “Chinese way” and to be in the end independent and will become a more powerful international supplier for rail equipment in the next decade.

But also on the level of midsize private companies, a visit to Sazcilar A.S. in Bursa shows a good example how to become a world first and second level supplier. In the year 1987 the company was founded and increased production of plastic and composite material for tractors, machinery, automotive, building industry and military equipment. Today it operates in five factories on 25.000 sqm and with over 600 employees. It is certified with ISO 9001:2000, ISO TS 16949, ISO 14000, IRIS, Q1 and 6702-1. In the rail field Sazcilar was the first Turkish company to certify to IRIS and became consequently composite material supplier for Bombardier TWINDEXX as well as light and mainline equipment for Bombardier, Alstom and CAF for projects in Germany, Belgium, France, Australia and UK. In Turkey components are delivered to projects such as E68000, PowerHaul and for many light and suburban rail systems.

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

The original of this article “Türkei – Unterwegs zur Selbständigkeit” was published at the German Privatbahn Magazin Issue 02/2015. This post is a shortened version of the original with the special permission of Peider Trippi, Eng.BSc, based on the fact that there’s no way to reach this information online either in English or Turkish.

Thanks to Tülomsaş/Eskişehir, Tüvasaş/Sakarya and Sazcilar A.S./Bursa for their support and “open factories” to publish this report.

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