In the Rail Turkey News post published on 22 January 2016 the Governor of Mersin is quoted as stating that the journey time from Mersin to Adana will be reduced to just 30 minutes once all the rebuilding and electrification works are completed.
How seriously can we take this statement? I am always very cautious when politicians – rather than railway officials – quote future journey times. Politicians naturally exaggerate the attractiveness of the service for their own electoral benefit. Unfortunately this is especially prevalent in Turkey, where nearly all major announcements on railways are made by local or national politicians. The result is often the announcement of journey times which owe more to political optimism than the laws of physics and railway operations.
So how does this particular announcement fare?
The distance from Mersin to Adana is 67.2 km so to do this distance in 30 minutes means an average speed of nearly 135 kph for a non-stop train.
With a relatively low speed departure from Mersin and arrival at Adana, and a maximum speed of 160 kph, this should be possible, but only with a non-stop train, with few or no intermediate speed reductions.
But why would you want to do that? A more realistic express service would include at least a call at Tarsus, with an end-to-end journey time of about 35 – 38 minutes.
That would enable a regular interval service with a 90-minute cycle time. So with only 3 Electric Multiple Units you could operate an express service every 30 minutes throughout the day, calling only at Tarsus, with a journey time of around 38 minutes, and a turnround time of 7 – 10 minutes at each end:
|No||Set #||Mersin Dep.||Adana Arr.||Adana Dep.||Mersin Arr.|
In order to serve the other intermediate stations, and to cater for the significant flows of freight traffic, as stated in the earlier article, 4-tracking the route would be necessary, so that the express services could overtake the freights and stopping passenger trains.
If the Electric Multiple Units are to be used as intensively as this, it is important that the design of both the trains and the stations make it easy for passengers to board and alight easily. Ideally each carriage should have wide openings at the 1/3 and 2/3 distance, and the platforms should be high so as to offer level access to the trains.
Photo: Jeff Hawken